Nightclub bouncers ordered to do unpaid work following assault

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Two bouncers who lost their jobs for assaulting a man who was trying to get back into a Leamington night club after having been ejected have both been ordered to do unpaid work.

Conor Bush pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to assaulting their victim, while fellow doorman Ian Shields denied that charge but admitted an alternative offence of common assault.

They were given 12-month community orders, with Bush (21) of Oval Road, Erdington, Birmingham, being told to do 75 hours of unpaid work, and Shields (40) of Old Hall Close, Stourbridge, to do 50 hours.

Prosecutor Sarah Allen said that in April last year the two men were working on the door at Smack night club in Leamington town centre.

Their ultimate victim Louis Sutton and a friend were ejected at about 1am following an argument on the dance floor which had led to ‘some unpleasant words’ being exchanged.

Mr Sutton and his friend walked round the town trying to get into other bars, without success, and then returned to try to get back into Smack.

But rather than going to the entrance, they were round the side of the premises to a point outside the smoking area where they tried to attract the attention of a friend to let them in.

The door staff were alerted to what was going on, and Bush and Shields went round to speak to them, telling them to leave the area.

Mr Sutton and his friend ‘took umbrage’ at that and took out their phones to begin recording what was going on.

Shields then took hold of Mr Sutton, who had been sitting on a wall, and a passing street warden described seeing Shields pull his arm back and punch Mr Smith to the face.

Mr Sutton was then pushed away, but was still agitated and ‘dancing around,’ goading Shields: “Is that all you can do?”

Bush, who had been holding the other man, then stepped forward with his fists clenched and punched Mr Sutton to the face.

The blow landed with such force that Mr Sutton was knocked onto the bonnet of a taxi, bounced off it and landed in the road.

Miss Allen pointed out that Bush had entered his plea on the basis that he had landed a single blow after losing his cool as a result of feeling provoked by the victim’s behaviour.

She said Mr Sutton, who suffered bruising around his eye, a haemorrhage to the white of his eye and a small cut to the inside of his mouth, had applied for compensation – but that was rejected by Recorder Anthony Potter.

Gurdeep Singh Garcha, for Shields, said: “Of course, in the end Louis Sutton is the victim in this case, but we ask the court to have regard to his behaviour that evening.

“These two defendants were exercising their lawful function up until that point when the red mist descended.

“It’s the first time in nine years as a doorman Mr Shields has reacted in this way to a situation. As a result of this lapse of judgement he is no longer able to carry out that work, which was well-paid.”

Sean Logan, for Bush, said there was a very good pre-sentence report on him, he had never been in trouble before, and is part-way through the process of joining the Army.

Sentencing the two, Recorder Potter told them: “You were there, as members of the door staff community, to ensure that those who wanted to enjoy the facilities of Smack night club could do so without people behaving anti-socially.

“You were involved with Mr Sutton when he unwisely chose to return to the night club and seek to get back in.

“No-one could criticise you for going to remonstrate with him; that was part of your job. What was not part of your job was, when he was sat on a wall, for you to both individually hit him.

“I accept, Mr Bush, he was provocative verbally, but you had already seen your colleague grab him and hit him once.

“You Ian Shields should have been the older and wiser head. You must have encountered this sort of situation on many occasions and not reacted, and you should not have reacted on this occasion.”