Judge warns Exmouth man over behaviour

PUBLISHED: 14:41 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:41 06 May 2016

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A man from Exmouth cleared of affray outside a pub in Lympstone has been warned by a Judge about his behaviour

A pub customer from Brixington has been warned by a Judge to be on his best behaviour despite being cleared of being part of a closing time brawl.

Thomas Matthew was found not guilty of an affray outside the Saddlers Arms in Lympstone after telling a jury he had not kicked or punched victim Nicholas Field.

Mr Field was left in a pool of his own blood after being attacked in the road outside the pub and punched to the ground and kicked in the face.

Matthew claimed the violence was carried out by two other men and he had walked to a bus stop on the other side of the road to get away from the trouble.

He was cleared of assault and affray after telling Exeter Crown Court that his only involvement was to push Mr Field away to stop him trying to hit him.

The trouble broke out after closing time at the pub where different groups of workmen had been out celebrating the end of the week on Friday February 6 last year.

Matthew, aged 25, of Broadpark Road, Exmouth, denied affray and was found not guilty.

After his acquittal Recorder Mr Don Tait warned him about his future conduct in the light of Matthew’s history of previous offending, which includes previous offences of public order and violence.

Mr Tait said: “I have a word or warning for you. I know about your past history and the trouble you have been in. This case should be a warning shot across your bows not to find yourself remotely near this sort of trouble in the future.”

Commenting on the evidence of other customers who took part in the fracas, he told the jury: “It is amazing how much some people have to drink and then pretend they can remember what happened.”

During the trial the jury heard that Mr Field was left with facial cuts and bruises after going outside to fight another customer called Tyrone Hodge.

The prosecution alleged Matthew got involved and held Mr Field while someone else punched him and then joined others in kicking him on the ground.

Matthew denied being part of the attack on Mr Field and said he had walked away from the trouble and only got involved when Mr Field crossed the road and tried to attack him.

He said he was out with his friends Tyrone Hodge and Lee Johnson. There had been words exchanged with another group at the pub which led Mr Hodge going outside for a fight with Mr Field at closing time.

He said he did not get involved and went to a bus stop on the other side of the road.

Matthew said: “Mr Field came at me swinging his arms at me. He was windmilling his arms and I just pushed him away. I pushed him in the chest and he stumbled backwards.

“Tyrone Hodge rugby tackled him and they were fighting on the floor. They were rolling around in the road.”

He said he had drunk six or seven pints and denied being the shorter man who the taxi driver saw holding the victim and kicking him.

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