Evening out became an ordeal

AN EVENING in Ipswich became a living nightmare for a man who was randomly punched, thrown out of a night club, intimidated by his attacker and then arrested for an assault he did not commit.

AN EVENING in Ipswich became a living nightmare for a man who was randomly punched, thrown out of a night club, intimidated by his attacker and then arrested for an assault he did not commit.

40-year-old Paul Hale, who had never been in trouble with the police before and had no knowledge of the legal system, said it was “frightening” how easily he ended up an accused man in court.

South East Suffolk Magistrates heard that Hale had spent the evening dancing in Mojo's, in Northgate Street, when he became aware of Dale Steward and another man giving him “filthy looks”.

Hale told the court that during the evening Mr Steward's friend said to him “Come on, take me on”, and later Mr Steward confronted Hale and said “You, outside now”.


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Giving evidence in court, Hale, formerly of Marlow Road, Ipswich, said he had “absolutely no idea” why the men were acting aggressively towards him and walked straight passed, ignoring both their comments.

A bouncer then informed Hale that a couple had complained about him, but no explanation was given why, and he was advised to stay away from them.

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Hale said he went to the other side of the club, but Mr Steward approached him and punched him three times in the face knocking him to the ground.

Hale was then ejected from the club by door staff without being told why.

Outside the club, Hale told a police officer he had been assaulted. Hale said as he walked up the street home Mr Steward blocked his path, so he pushed him out of the way.

“The next thing I remember was what seemed like half of Ipswich jumping on me”, said Hale.

He was taken into an alleyway before hearing an officer say he would deal with it.

Hale was handcuffed and arrested for a charge of common assault against Mr Steward's partner Wendy Carroll.

It was alleged that Hale, now of Cambridgeshire, punched her to the ground outside Mojo's on October 26 last year.

Hale, of previous good character, denied the allegation, and magistrates found him not guilty of assault as his evidence was “consistent” and Mr Steward's bore “no resemblance” to the CCTV footage which did not show clearly how Ms Carroll fell.

After the hearing Hale said: “It is frightening how easy it is to end up in court for something you haven't done. I just thought the CCTV would clear me, but that was not the case.”

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