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Clubber hits out at 'unfair' ban

PUBLISHED: 12:06 14 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:51 03 March 2010

A FELIXSTOWE teenager today claimed he had been banned unfairly and unjustly from the resort's pubs and clubs – after being cleared of wounding a police officer.

A FELIXSTOWE teenager today claimed he had been banned unfairly and unjustly from the resort's pubs and clubs – after being cleared of wounding a police officer.

Richard Higgins, 19, has been barred since the incident last summer – even though he was found not guilty by a jury of attacking Pc Timothy Cohen.

He was banned for six months under the Nightsafe scheme, which aims to crackdown on drugs, drunkenness and disorder, but said no-one has yet told him the ban has been lifted.

"I agree with the banning scheme – I think if you have done something wrong, misbehaved, then a ban is a good punishment," said Mr Higgins, of Gosford Way, Old Felixstowe.

"But I think I have been treated totally unfairly and unjustly. I was banned even though I didn't do anything wrong.

"I went to court and the court found me not guilty and yet the banning committee still decided to ban me. How can that be right?

"I think they need to look a bit more closely at how this works."

People he knew who had served bans had received letters telling them the punishment had been completed but he had not and so had stayed away.

Mr Higgins was cleared of wounding Pc Cohen with intent to prevent another man's arrest and also of a joint charge of unlawfully wounding the officer.

The court heard he had been present when there had been a scuffle as police officers tried to make an arrest in an alleyway near the Ordnance roundabout.

During the struggle Pc Cohen struck his head on a concrete post or the ground, leaving him needing seven staples in a cut to his head.

Felixstowe Nightsafe chairman Mark Moseley said he could not discuss individual cases.

"The nominations for people to be considered for a ban come to the committee not just from the police, but also from concerned licensees and members of the community," he said.

"Not everyone who is considered has been charged with an offence and may have been involved in an incident of misbehaviour in the area or which has caused concern, or for other reasons."

Seafront community police officer Pc Richard Durrant said Mr Higgins had been sent a letter. The "banned from one, banned from all" punishment was imposed if there was sufficient reason to do so and was not necessarily connected with court proceedings.

Currently 12 people are banned from Felixstowe's seafront nightclubs and pubs. Their details, and in some cases photographs of known convicts, and drug pushers, have been given to the management and door staff of the resort's licensed premises, but the police say the information is confidential.

In the ten months since the scheme was launched, a total of 21 people have been given bans from three to six months – and police are delighted that those who have been punished have not re-offended and been given second bans.

Felixstowe nightclubs are at the centre of a controversial new bid to lengthen licensing hours to dawn at 4am.

n Have you been banned from Felixstowe's pubs and clubs? Let us know what you think of the punishment. Contact Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109 or richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk


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