Convicted bouncers could face work bar
Under scrutiny by security industry after verdict
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