Newtown man’s ‘excessive’ self-defence in Powys bouncer assault

A POWYS man must pay compensation to a pub bouncer who he assaulted in what he described as self-defence.

Robert Smith, 21, had denied assaulting William Jones, thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm, during an incident at Newtown’s Castle Vaults pub in July last year.

However, he was convicted of the offence at his trial held on October 4, with magistrates deciding Smith had used “excessive self-defence”.

At his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, November 14, Welshpool Magistrates’ Court heard the incident occurred after a fight broke out at the Broad Street boozer, on July 9, 2022.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said Mr Jones was working as a door supervisor at the venue when a fight broke out, which he and a colleague had attempted to break up.

“He was hit behind the ear, he was dazed and fell to the ground,” said Mrs Tench.

“That is the last thing he remembers, then it went black. He was confused when he came round and had trouble seeing.

“A witness walking along Broad Street at the time saw William Jones trying to separate parties, before being pushed to the ground. She saw the defendant pushing him. The incident lasted 30 seconds.

“CCTV footage was shown to the defendant and he said to police ‘he hit me, of course I’m going to hit him after that’. He described himself as ‘black out drunk’ and said he used self-defence.”

In a victim impact statement provided by Mr Jones, Mrs Tench said: “I am now on edge at work, I am wary, always looking over my shoulder.

“I also work at Tesco and there was an incident after this where I was at Tesco and heard someone running behind me; I went into fight or flight mode and it turned out to be a child.

“I was unable to see out of my right eye due to the swelling and was unable to work on the doors for two weeks, while there have also been hospital appointments.”

After denying assault in August of this year, the bench at Smith’s trial last month found he had been “drinking, punched his victim and went to kick him too”, said Mrs Tench. “It was excessive self-defence,” she said.

She also said that in July of last year, the defendant had been the subject of a two-year conditional discharge. She said it had now lapsed, but he was in breach of it at the time.

Representing Smith, of Lon Gwern, Newtown, Rob Hanratty described the assault as a case of “mistaken identity”.

“The defendant was innocently standing at the back of a crowd, when a large male lands a blow on him, and he lands on his back,” said Mr Hanratty.

“A group then jumps on top of him. The injured party, also wearing a white T-shirt, rushes over to assist.

“The defendant, under the influence of drink, whether drunk or not, may well have reasonably believed the man grabbing his shirt, wearing a white T-shirt, was his attacker.

“The defendant got to his feet with the victim having hold of him. The bench took what the defendant had done and said it amounted to excessive self-defence.”

Smith was told to comply with a 12-month community order, which will include completing 100 hours of unpaid work, as well as attendance on a thinking skills programme.

He was ordered to pay £125 compensation to Mr Jones and he must pay £310 costs, in addition to a £114 surcharge. Magistrates ordered no separate penalty for the breach of the conditional discharge.

Source – County times