Con­victed bounc­ers could face work bar

Un­der scru­tiny by se­cu­rity in­dus­try after ver­dict

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEWS -

Two night­club bounc­ers with 40 years’ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween them could be barred from work­ing in the in­dus­try after be­ing found guilty of as­sault.

Mark O’hare and James Lees were con­victed after a dis­tur­bance out­side Me­gabar in Mother­well and will now have their suit­abil­ity to work as door­men put un­der scru­tiny by the Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Author­ity which reg­u­lates bounc­ers.

It was claimed the ste­wards were only do­ing their jobs after row­dies be­gan singing sec­tar­ian songs in the club, but the jury ruled they went too far.

O’hare (46,) of Ste­wart Street, Car­luke, was found guilty of punch­ing Ed­ward Gar­diner and caus­ing him to fall to the ground where he struck his head and was knocked un­con­scious. The jury ruled he acted un­der provo­ca­tion.

Dra­matic CCTV footage showed Gar­diner ly­ing flat out on his back, mo­tion­less. A pal who give ev­i­dence dur­ing a four-day trial at Hamil­ton Sher­iff Court said he thought the night­club rev­eller was dead.

Luck­ily, Gar­diner wasn’t out cold for long and suf­fered only a bump to his head.

The jury found Lees (48), of Burn­side Cres­cent, Shotts, guilty of push­ing and try­ing to punch James Mcaloon.

A third bouncer, Ryan Munro (24), of Shaw Cres­cent, Wishaw, was found not guilty of as­sault­ing Thomas Devlin by push­ing him to the ground to his se­vere in­jury and per­ma­nent im­pair­ment.

Devlin (22) told the court his army and box­ing ca­reers are over after he sus­tained a dis­lo­cated finger when he was shoved to the ground.

He said he and his pals had been out cel­e­brat­ing a birth­day and ad­mit­ted a lot of drink had been taken even be­fore they ar­rived at the Bran­don Street night­club late on. But he claimed there had been no is­sues be­fore the bounc­ers be­came heavy handed about 2.30 in the morn­ing.

Devlin said he saw his pal Gar­diner ly­ing on the ground and when he tried to en­quire about what had hap­pened found him­self decked as well.

Watch­ing footage of the in­ci­dent in court, he told the jury: “Ed­die Gar­diner was ly­ing on the ground. I went to check on him. He was un­con­scious. I ac­tu­ally thought he was dead as he was just ly­ing there, not mov­ing. I was pan­ick­ing.”

Devlin said that in the chaos which fol­lowed he wasn’t sure what hap­pened to him, but he ended up in pain on the ground and was taken to Wishaw Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal where he un­der­went surgery on his finger and had stitches in­serted.

Asked by pros­e­cu­tor Michael Mac­in­tosh about the long-term ef­fects, he replied: “I can’t lift any­thing more than three ki­los in my left hand. I can just get by with day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties, but I can’t hold my 18-month-old daugh­ter.

“It ru­ined my army ca­reer. My box­ing ca­reer was go­ing places as well.”

Asked by the fis­cal if th­ese av­enues were still open to him, Devlin an­swered: “Not at all.”

Six foot four inch O’hare was the only one of the three bounc­ers to ev­i­dence.

He said he was the head su­per­vi­sor at the Hype Su­per­club at Me­gabar which he said used to have a re­ally bad rep­u­ta­tion but has im­proved in re­cent years. He has worked there for 15 years and has 20 years’ stew­ard­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in to­tal.

O’hare said none of the group in­volved in the dis­tur­bance on July 1 last year were known trou­ble­mak­ers, but ac­tion was taken after sec­tar­ian singing was heard in the club.

O’hare said he tried to calm things down but one of the group, Aaron Sweeney, be­came ag­gres­sive and called him a “big gay p **** ”. give

He said Sweeney was es­corted from the premises but he was punched by the irate club­ber in the ribs. O’hare thought he was go­ing to be at­tacked fur­ther as Sweeney yelled ‘Let’s do them’. O’hare ad­mit­ted he gave Gar­diner a “force­ful” shove, but in­sisted he was only de­fend­ing him­self.

O’hare added that most rowdy rev­ellers leave when they’re asked, but this group were re­fus­ing to go away and were bent on caus­ing trou­ble.

After the ver­dicts, Ian Scott, de­fend­ing O’hare, said the struc­tural en­gi­neer has only a mi­nor record but isn’t sure of the im­pact this con­vic­tion will have on his ca­reer as a bouncer.

El­speth For­rest, de­fend­ing Lees, said he, like his co-ac­cused, has been work­ing as a stew­ard for 20 years. He has no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions at all, but must now wait to see what the im­pli­ca­tions of be­ing found guilty of as­sault are. It could af­fect his day job as a bus driver as well as his po­si­tion as a door­man.

For­rest added: “The Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Author­ity will make a de­ci­sion at a later stage.”

Sher­iff Thomas Mil­lar £500 and Lees £200.

Al­le­ga­tions that Munro and O’hare were work­ing at Me­gabar with­out hav­ing se­cu­rity in­dus­try li­cences were dropped by the Crown dur­ing the trial. fined O’hare

He was un­con­scious. I ac­tu­ally thought he was dead as he was just ly­ing there, not mov­ing. I was pan­ick­ing

Pair con­victed Fol­low­ing dis­tur­bance out­side the Me­gabar

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