A high profile Labour councillor is delighted after being cleared of assaulting a bouncer on a night out following a successful appeal.
Cllr Matt Bryan, who represents Upton on Cheshire West and Chester Council , was sentenced to 100 hours’ unpaid work last November after being found guilty of assaulting the doorman at Kuckoo bar in Watergate Street, Chester, on February 13, 2016.
But Cllr Bryan, who always denied spitting at and kicking doorman David Keating, successfully appealed his conviction and sentence when he appeared before judge Anthony O’Donoghue at Chester Crown Court .
The Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence when the complainant failed to turn up because of a mix-up over dates which meant he was working away in Dubai and his doorman colleague Carl Jervis, another key witness, did not attend either.
An appeal had originally been due to take place in March but did not go ahead for similar reasons. The judge at that hearing said the case must not be adjourned again which was heeded by judge O’Donoghue.
Everything was quashed including the £50 compensation to Mr Keating, the £85 victim surcharge and £620 court costs although Cllr Bryan had already completed his community service, ironically, working in the Age UK charity shop next door but one to Kuckoo.
Cllr Bryan, 30, of Cambrian Avenue, Vicars Cross , missed his grandfather’s funeral to attend today’s appeal hearing. He said afterwards: “Delighted! It’s been nearly a year and a half. I’ve always maintained this incident didn’t happen. The CCTV was conclusive in showing that and we’ve got the right result today so I’m really happy.”
But he expressed disappointment the prosecution witnesses didn’t turn up because he wanted his ‘day in court’ with the opportunity for his accusers to be cross-examined.
Cllr Bryan, who admitted having drunk three or four pints on the night, regretted arguing with the doormen but insisted ‘nothing’ on his part had amounted to criminal behaviour. Following his arrest, the councillor decided to stand down from his role as deputy chairman of the licensing committee as he prepared to fight to clear his name.
There has been speculation around whether the case against the councillor, well known because of his anti-fracking activities, had been politically motivated. Cllr Bryan commented: “I thought the magistrates’ finding at the last hearing was very irregular.”