Northern Ireland news

Doorman fined for punching customer

John Latimer was due to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court

A FORMER doorman has been fined £400 after he admitted punching a customer.

John Latimer was due to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of causing actual bodily harm on August 17, 2016 after he initially denied the offence.

However, after a jury was sworn, Latimer's barrister asked that his client be re-arraigned. When the charge was put to him, the 34-year old replied "guilty".

From Cloverhill Drive in Bangor, at the time of the incident, Latimer had been working as a doorman for 11 years.

Judge Patricia Smyth was told by prosecutor Simon Jenkins that the assault occurred at the Empire bar on Botanic Avenue.

As a customer was making his way from the downstairs bar out to the smoking area, he was told by door staff that he was unable to take his drink outside.

The court heard the customer "was not agreeable to that course of action", and when Latimer took the drink off the customer, he was pushed. During a short altercation, Latimer punched the customer once in the face, which caused him to fall back and hit his head off steps which rendered him unconscious.

CCTV footage showed Latimer offering immediate assistance to the customer, who sustained a swollen lip and a head wound.

After he was arrested, Latimer said he acted in self-defence to prevent himself from being struck. However, Mr Jenkins told the court that by pleading guilty, Latimer has accepted the force he used "went a little too far".

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