Fight in the snow lands man in court

tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic14.
tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic14.

TOMFOOLERY in the snow, involving a group of friends on a night out, led one of them to court on Tuesday, February 28 where he was told that at his age he ought not to be indulging in snowy larks.

John Paul Hayes, 35, appeared before Harrogate magistrates to plead guilty to using behaviour provoking fear of violence being used towards Toby Edward Bull.

Prosecutor Steven Ovenden told presiding magistrate Paul Gregory CCTV operators had monitored activity in Union Street, Harrogate, at 1am on February 6, after a weekend of heavy snow.

Four men had been seen engaging ‘‘in a degree of tomfoolery’’ throwing snowballs at one another before Mr Bull appeared to take umbrage.

He had thrown his gloves and coat to the floor and confronted Hayes, lunging at him before the pair wrestled in the snow. Hayes had got on top of Mr Bull and delivered a number of blows while the other men in the group attempted – unsuccessfully – to separate the pair. They continued to trade blows while on the floor.

Mr Ovenden said when police were called no complaint of assault was made, with Hayes and Mr Bull having made up after their “lark in the snow”.

The group had been dispersing when abuse from one of them towards police officers led to them all being arrested. At least two others, including Mr Bull, had been cautioned over the incident, with only Hayes – possibly because he had a record – having been charged.

Mr Ovenden said his record disclosed a conviction for assault and another for possession of cocaine.

In mitigation Andrew Tinning said Hayes, of Spitalcroft Green Knaresborough, and his friends had drunk a considerable amount. They had gone from the Blues Bar to the Rehab Bar but had been refused entry because one had been carrying a bottle.

They had wandered up Oxford Street before cutting down Union Street to go to Mr Bull’s home. Snowballs had been thrown in what started as friendly messing about. ‘‘But when two of them hit the ground it turned into something more sinister,’’ said Mr Tinning.

An unedifying spectacle had been captured on CCTV – two men rolling about on the floor after becoming annoyed with each other. But there were now no hard feelings between the pair. Mr Bull had come to court with Hayes and they remained friends.

Mr Tinning said the court would perhaps take the view that Hayes, a father of two, was “a bit too old to be indulging in this form of behaviour”.

Mr Gregory agreed and told Hayes he was in a situation where history had caught up with him. Perhaps the reason why he was the only one to face a charge was his previous record.

And ordering a fine of £130 with costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge Mr Gregory told Hayes his friends had contributed to his predicament and perhaps ought to contribute towards his penalty.