Violence which erupted in Dunstable after a row over whose turn it was to play pool was described by a judge as being “disgusting” and caused by people drinking large amounts of alcohol. CCTV played to Luton crown court Friday 14th August 2015 showed that trouble spread from inside the HQ Sports Bar to outside in the street where it involved a larger group of people.
Four men involved in the affray were in the dock,but Judge Michael Kay QC said not all of those who threw punches were before the court. Prosecutor Daniel Siong said the first victim was playing a version of pool where the winner stays on the table and plays the next person waiting for a game. But three others wanted to play amongst themselves and a row broke out.
One started punching, and the other two joined in. One threw a glass and hit him with a chair, while the other knocked him to the floor where the man who had the chair kicked him. The victim suffered cuts, bruising and an injury to his throat. Shortly afterwards the violence moved outside when the same man again threw the first punch.
A middle aged man, who was there with his wife and son, was seen to throw a punch at the second defendant but he missed. As a result the middle aged man went down on one knee. The man who had thrown the bottle inside the bar, kicked him in the head and while the other man punched him to the ground. He fell unconscious and suffered fractures to both cheek bones and a broken ankle.
Seeing what had happened to his father, the man’s son tried to get across to him, but was stopped by a woman who was acting as a peace-maker. The son grabbed her and threw her to the ground. She suffered cuts and bruises.
A 26 year old and a 21 year old man pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and affray in the early hours of Sunday 8 March.
A 21 year old man pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and affray.
The 21 year old son of the man who suffered the fractures admitted battery and affray.
Andrew Kerry, for the man whom had wielded the bottle, said he was hard-working. He said he had pleaded guilty at the earliest hearing and expressed extreme remorse for his behaviour. He said his client, who had previous convictions for ABH, battery and possessing a weapon, had last been convicted of violence in 2009.
For the second defendant, it was said he had no direct recollection of the night, but made admissions once the police had shown him the CCTV. He said he did not start the violence. He had one police caution for battery.
Andrew Kerry, also defending the third defendant, said he was “disgusted” by his behaviour that night. He said he had no previous convicted and had acted out of character.
For the son of the man who suffered a GBH, it was said “red mist” had come down when he saw what had happened to his father.
Judge Kay said: “Every time incidents like this happen it reduces the confidence people have in going out for a drink and having a good evening. Parents worry about their children. It undermines the quality of life.”
He said the behaviour was “disgusting” and that all four should be ashamed of themselves. He sentenced the first defendant to three years’ jail, the second to 2 years and the third to 16 months.
The fourth was given a 6 month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work. He must abide by a 4-month curfew between 8pm and 5am, pay his victim £500 in compensation and pay £470 prosecution costs.
For the offences of GBH/ABH you can be given the sentence of life imprisonment.
For more information on sentencing, please take a look at our Knowledge Centre.