A MAN who sprayed CS gas after a brawl broke out inside his pub has been sentenced.
James Murphy, 32, former landlord at the Straw Hat in Great Sutton, was handed a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, when he appeared at Chester Crown Court last Wednesday.
He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of voluntary work in the community.
Judge Roger Dutton said although the gas may have put a stop to the fighting inside the pub, there would be ‘mayhem’ if every landlord took the same course of action, adding that the sentence sent out a warning to others.
“It may be that it was an effective deterrent, but it’s a dangerous substance. It’s only lawfully in possession of those who are professionally trained. This was a serious error of judgement”, he explained.
Mr Murphy was arrested at the pub having called the police following the brawl between two groups of males close to midnight on December 13 last year.
He had come to be in possession of the CS spray, having found it in a hedge outside the pub in the summer of 2008.
Mr Youds said Murphy told the police: “I didn’t know it was illegal. I found it in a hedge and kept it for self-defence.”
Defending, James Bagby said Murphy had kept hold of the spray as the pub was robbed in April 2008 by an armed gang.
They were carrying a machete and meat cleavers and escaped with about £10,000 from the safe.
Mr Bagby said the incident involving Martin Leffler, who was killed after being punched outside the Red Lion pub in December 2008, was also preying on Murphy’s mind as he saw the six men attacking the lone male.