Two off-duty North Wales Police officers who beat up a party goer so badly that other guests thought he was dead have escaped a jail sentence.
The judge said he dealt with them as 'incompetent off-duty officers'
Sgt Stephen Tierney and Pc Jonathan Tym, from Wrexham, were ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service for assaulting Michael Mayers.
The pair were also ordered to pay him £1,000 compensation each for the attack at a Chester hotel in December 2003.
They were convicted of assault in April and face force misconduct hearings.
The pair were sentenced at Warrington Crown Court for the attack on Mr Mayers, from Connah's Quay, at the Mollington Banastre Hotel.
The court was told the two officers, each with nearly 30 years experience, had been at a party with their wives and friends when they were involved in a dispute with Mr Mayers.
The dispute escalated into a scuffle in which Mr Mayers lost consciousness and was dragged round by his tie.
The sentencing hearing was told Mr Mayers looked so bad after the assault that fellow guests thought he was dead.
Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Phillip Hughes told the officers: "I intend to deal with you as two incompetent off-duty police officers".
'Shame and embarrassment'
Judge Hughes said the officers "clearly went over the top" but that he regarded what had happened "as an isolated incident".
The judge went on: "You injured one of your fellow guests -- the result of what you did was to render Mr Mayers unconscious.
"I am satisfied that you Stephen Tierney intervened. You, Tym, became involved and the whole incident degenerated into a brawl.
"The incident ruined the Christmas party. It left Mr Mayers in a state that onlookers feared he was dead."
Each was also ordered to pay £1,200 costs.
Bernadette Baxter, defending Tierney, said the incident was a "cause of great shame and embarrassment".
She added: "The events have had a profound effect upon Mr Tierney and those closest to him. The consequences of this conviction will not only affect his employment, it will also have profound financial implications".
Tim Storrie, defending Tym, a father-of-two, said he had met friends and family that evening to "celebrate the Christmas period".
He added that "thankfully there was no lasting harm to Mr Mayers".
As he left the court, Sgt Tierney said he was unable to make any comment because of "legal processes".
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Shannon said: "Both officers were convicted of assault at the Crown Court in Chester. Following their conviction, they were suspended from duty and will appear before a misconduct hearing in due course."