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Drunken pub goer jailed for starting mass brawl at end of season darts party

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

Exeter Crown Court

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A drunken pub goer has been jailed for starting a mass brawl at an end of season darts party.

Darren Wales was caught on CCTV as he lashed out at a fellow customer in a Newton Abbot pub where he had been drinking all afternoon.

He had a long history of drunken violence and was supposed to be receiving help from the probation service to tackle his alcoholism at the time.

His attack occurred just three months after an order banning him from pubs in the centre of the town expired.

Wales, aged 37, of Luxton Road, Ogwell, admitted battery and was jailed for 16 weeks by Judge Phillip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court. He turned down Wales’s appeal against the sentence imposed by South Devon Magistrates.

Miss Beth Heaton, prosecuting, said the violence broke out in the Locomotive pub in Newton Abbot at 6.30 pm on September 21 when Wales was there with others who had been celebrating the end of the darts season.

She showed the Judge CCTV which showed Wales propping up one end of the bar with his arm around a friend while victim Ryan Duke was drinking with his father Peter at the other end.

Another man summoned them over and there was a short exchange of words which ended with Wales throwing a punch and a mass brawl breaking out involving five or six customers.

All ended up rolling around on the floor with punches being thrown and bar stools and tables being sent flying in the fracas, which stopped briefly before Wales landed another punch.

Miss Heaton said all the men were thrown out of the pub and Wales was arrested by two passing motorcycle police after the trouble continued on the pavement.

Mr Duke was left with a one inch cut on his eyebrow and another of those involved suffered a broken nose.

Mr Ben Darby, defending, said the original jail sentence was unfair because everyone else involved was cautioned.

He said:”A sentence of 16 weeks is manifestly excessive. The CCTV shows a particularly nasty incident where all parties involved were involved in offences but he is the only one before the court.”

Judge Wassall, who sat with two lay magistrates, threw out the appeal and pointed out that Wales had a bad record and was in breach of the community order which was supposed to help him stop drinking.

He told Wales:”You come before the court for a disgraceful incident in a pub, having significant previous convictions. We have seen the CCTV and you were responsible for instigating the fight. You threw the first blow.

“What followed was predictable. The fact that others are not before the court does not affect your position. This was violence in a public house and a protracted incident.

“Until you take on board that you have to behave better in public you are going to be in the same position of going inside.”

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  • Tony248  |  March 07 2014, 11:38AM

    Good riddance to bad rubbish. With his record 16 weeks was merciful, what was he appealing about?

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