Photographer spared jail for assaulting business partner
A PHOTOGRAPHER who “recklessly” struck his business partner with a metal brochure stand during a row about overseas holiday properties has escaped an immediate prison sentence.
David Hebditch, 46, of Chestnut Lane, Kingsnorth, Ashford, lost his temper with Helen Kemp at their photographic studio in Sandgate in January.
After throwing the 4ft high stand to the floor, Hebditch picked it up, only to swing the heavy base against Miss Kemp’s forehead, causing a cut and a dent.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the pair had been business partners for a year but had an “unresolved” and on-going disagreement concerning holiday homes in Cyprus which they also advertised at their Portland Studios in Sandgate High Street.
Trouble flared when Hebditch and Miss Kemp rowed about potential profit. Hebditch kicked a coffee table and threw the stand, which held information about the Cyprus properties.
Jo Boothby, prosecuting, said Miss Kemp was leaning over to tidy up when she was struck by the stand.
The incident was captured on the studio’s CCTV and was played in court. Mr Boothby said Miss Kemp’s head started to bleed quite quickly and Hebditch brought her a towel. Feeling dizzy, she later went to hospital for treatment.
“According to Miss Kemp, Hebditch had rather a bad temper when it came to conflict of opinions,” explained Mr Boothby, “and there had been quite a few rows during the time they ran the partnership, although there had never been violence before.”
Hebditch admitted assault causing actual bodily harm. Imposing a jail term of 18 weeks suspended for 12 months Judge Charles Macdonald QC said he took “a serious view of an ugly incident”.
However, he added that the assault was reckless rather than premeditated. “The aggravating feature is the harm done as a result of the reckless mishandling of that metal stand,” said the judge.
“It is not technically a weapon in the guidelines sense but some- thing I must take into account. The injuries could have been, I think, quite a lot worse.”
Hebditch must carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and pay £350 compensation to Miss Kemp.
Oliver Saxby, defending, said the assault was not a deliberate attack with a weapon and the harm caused was fairly limited.
“I do not detract from the premise that this was a nasty little incident and he lost his temper, but in the true meaning of ‘weapon’ this stand does not qualify,” argued Mr Saxby. “There was a loss of self-control with Miss Kemp in the vicinity.”