Grandfather fined for rugby tackling bouncer

PUBLISHED: 14:29 15 June 2016

Exeter Crown Court.

Exeter Crown Court.

Archant

A grandfather has been fined for rugby tackling a nightclub bouncer in a brawl which left the victim with a fractured back.

Paul Matthews had been drinking for 11 hours in Exmouth to celebrate the birth of his son Aaron’s new baby, before he went to the Timepiece nightclub in Exeter, Exeter Crown Court heard.

He and his son got involved in pushing and shoving with door staff after they ejected a third member of their group who was said to have been so drunk he could barely stand up.

The entire fracas was caught on CCTV which showed Matthews being pushed or punched in the face before he lunged at door staff and was taken to the ground.

The footage showed that while on the ground he grabbed the legs of doorman Gavin Barber, who fell heavily on the cobbled street and suffered a fractured vertebra.

Gearbox fitter Matthews, aged 45, of Bishop Westall Road, Exeter, admitted disorderly behaviour and was fined £150 with £85 costs by Judge Graham Cottle at Exeter Crown Court.

Matthews’ son Aaron, aged 25, of Chaffinch Drive, Cullompton, was conditionally discharged and ordered to pay £165 costs when he admitted a similar charge at Exeter Magistrates Court last year.

The judge criticised the CPS for having persisted with a more serious charge against Paul Matthews of causing grievous bodily harm in the face of the CCTV evidence.

He told Paul Matthews: “Your behaviour, which I have seen on the CCTV, was unacceptable and you acknowledge that. You had far too much to drink that day and got involved in this incident.

“The CCTV showed you were pushed, if not punched away, and then got to the ground, probably in part because you had too much to drink. While there you grabbed the legs of the doorman and he fell backwards and hurt his back.

“It is clear you did not intend that consequence but that is what happened. It was an unpleasant injury but not one you remotely intended to cause.”

Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said the disturbance took place at around 10.45 pm on May 30 last year.

He said: “The defendant and his son Aaron had come to Exeter by train from Exmouth where they had been celebrating the birth of Aaron’s son. They were planning to continue the celebration in Timepiece.

“They were in the company of another young man, who was also very drunk. The defendant and Aaron had both been drinking vodka from 12.30pm.”

Mr Richings said Matthews was admitted to the club but his son’s friend was ejected and the rest of the party followed him out down an alley before there was a confrontation with door staff.

He said Mr Barber had spent the night in hospital because of his injury and needed to wear a back brace for six weeks after the incident.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Matthews is a hard working family man who has no previous court convictions. He says he accepts he had drunk too much on the night but had no intention of hurting anyone and has apologised to the doorman.

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