Man "caught in the moment" punches man only to find out he was a police officer

The defendant's solicitor said his client was trying to defend himself.
The defendant's solicitor said his client was trying to defend himself.
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A window cleaner's assistant who punched a policeman in the jaw in early hours trouble did not know he was an officer, a court heard.


Burnley magistrates were told how PC Nathan Shaw suffered tenderness down his jawline, had to go to hospital, and had been referred to a specialist over his injury, inflicted by William Barrett.

Barrett (26) of Russell Court in the town, admitted common assault on August 19th. The defendant, who had never been in trouble before, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and was told to pay £100 compensation, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Miss Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, told the court at 3.40am the victim was sent to outside Pharaohs Bar in Burnley where a fight was going on. A rowdy group was in the street, the defendant was there, and was swinging his arms around. The officer went towards him and was assaulted.

Mr Dylan Bradshaw, defending, said Barrett, who worked as an occasional, freelance window cleaner's assistant, did not really go out. He had no previous convictions.

The defendant went with friends on a birthday outing; some women were fighting in a basement bar and he did his best to split it up. When the officer saw Barrett, he was walking backwards, swinging punches.

Mr Bradshaw said the defendant was trying to defend himself. The solicitor continued: "Under no circumstances did he deliberately assault a police officer. He was approached and he swung out. He says he was grabbed. He did not realise it was a police officer, but accepts he hit him with some force. He was caught in the moment.

"He did calm down immediately," Mr Bradshaw added. "He apologised at the scene."