A York bouncer has been spared jail after injuring two men in a late-night scuffle described as a scene of “absolute chaos and violence”.
John Ward, 29, flung one man to the ground and punched another repeatedly during the brawl outside The Terrace bar in Fossgate.
He was found guilty of two counts of causing actual bodily harm following a trial in October. He was found not guilty of a third allegation that he caused another named man grievous bodily harm.
Prosecutor Rachael Landing said at least two men were injured in the scuffle which began when Ward, who was working on the door of The Terrace, approached one of them following an altercation amid heightened tensions outside the bar.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Ward push one of the men from the pavement into the road and then throw him to the ground.
The victim’s friend tried to intervene, but he was punched repeatedly in the road and knocked to the ground. At one stage, one of the men appeared to grab Ward around the neck from behind as the bouncer fought the other victim.
Ward claimed he had acted in self-defence following provocation from the men outside the bar in the early hours of February 23 last year.
The CCTV footage, which was played in court, showed an altercation between four doormen, including Ward, and three men outside the front entrance to the bar.
“Words were exchanged” as one of the doormen tried to usher one of the men away from the bar, said Ms Landing.
Ward claimed the men “looked like they were about to do something to my team (of doormen)”.
He claimed he saw one of the men throw a punch at someone, at which point he moved towards the group, trying to move them away amid lots of shouting and swearing.
During the ensuing melee, Ward claimed he “panicked” when one of them grabbed him around the neck and he “responded” because one of the men had hold of his back or arm.
But Ms Landing said that Ward was the aggressor and turned the situation “into absolute chaos and violence”.
She said that Ward was “not under any threat at all” from the men.
Ward, of York Road, Skipwith, appeared for sentence on Wednesday knowing his liberty was at stake, but judge Simon Hickey spared him jail primarily because the security man was the main carer for his child.
Ward received a six-month prison sentence, but this was suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and complete 32 rehabilitation-activity days.
In addition, he was ordered to pay £500 compensation to one of the victims and £250 to the other named man.
Recently, two door staff have told YorkMix of their fears that one of their number could be seriously hurt unless they are offered more protection.