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Spalding pub landlord and district councillor Peter Williams 'deeply ashamed' but vindicated after fine for lashing out at drunk barred from pub

A Spalding pub landlord plans to carry on pulling pints after a judge fined him £600 for lashing out at a drunken man who smashed a window.

Peter Williams (65), of The Punchbowl, New Road, Spalding, admitted he was "deeply ashamed" but also "over the moon" about his sentence for punching Gary Ward who had been told to leave the pub after causing damage there in January last year.

Mr Williams, a South Holland District Council member for Spalding St Paul's ward, appeared at Lincoln Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday) alongside his son Ben Williams (39), of Spring Gardens, Spalding, who was fined £400 for assaulting by beating Mr Ward.

But Judge Simon Hirst warned Williams that any repeat of his actions would result in a "significantly greater" punishment, including the loss of his licence to sell alcohol.

After the court hearing, which took place on his birthday, Williams revealed that he planned to carry on, both as a landlord and district councillor, unless the South Holland authorities decided otherwise.

Peter Williams, landlord of The Punchbowl, New Road, Spalding, has been fined £600 for punching a drunk at the pub.
Peter Williams, landlord of The Punchbowl, New Road, Spalding, has been fined £600 for punching a drunk at the pub.

Mr Williams said: "Myself and Ben aren't happy with where we ended up and we're not happy with our behaviour.

"But we're both over the moon with the judge's decision which certainly sends a warning out about our behaviour in the future.

"I do feel that the judge was very fair and his decision reflected the huge amount of pressure that publicans are under at the moment to deal with trouble at their premises.

"Ninety nine per cent of my customers are lovely and wonderful, but it only takes one person to ruin it all.

"It's our job to get that person off the premises and we have to do it there and then, without the kind of training police officers get."

Mr Williams accepted that he and his son had "stepped over the mark" in punching Mr Ward who, the landlord claimed, had broken a glass, spat on the ground and punched him twice in the head.

The incident, on January 11, led to Williams having to give up his role as designated premises supervisor after a South Holland licensing panel hearing in February 2018.

Mr Williams said: "Me and Ben over-reacted to someone who caused damage in our pub, so we're very relieved about the sentence.

"During the court hearing, the police were adamant that I should have my premises licence for The Punchbowl taken away.

"But I felt vindicated when the judge decided that South Holland District Council was better-placed to do that, having looked at the matter.

"I'm the first to complain when the law isn't upheld but, in this case, the law has been upheld and I do feel that the judge appreciated the amount of pressure we were under, with a lack of police presence in the town at the time."

Mr Williams confirmed that he would be standing down as a district councillor before May's elections, but added that he would do so immediately, if the council asked him to do so.

"I'm deeply ashamed of my actions, even though they came not out of anger but frustration and disappointment", Mr Williams said.

"All we wanted Mr Ward to do was go home but he wouldn't and, because of the CCTV evidence, the police felt they should pursue the matter through the courts.

"I'd never been in trouble before during my 30 years as a publican and the judge has decided that I should pay a fine.

"If the district council, as a body, feels that I should no longer be a member of it, then I'm quite happy to step down.

"But I don't feel that I should step down as I still have a job to do and this one-off incident shouldn't reflect too badly on me.

"As far as The Punchbowl is concerned, I'm 65 now so I may call it a day when the lease comes up for renewal in April next year.

"However, I may renew the lease on the pub for the next five years."

A South Holland District Council spokesman said: “We take any misconduct or criminal activity relating to council members or officers extremely seriously.

"However, in this instance, Mr Williams was not acting in his capacity as a councillor and, therefore, this is a private and legal matter that falls outside of the council’s jurisdiction.

"The Law is also clear that a councillor can continue as an elected member if they receive a fine or a custodial sentence from the court of less than three months.

"In such cases, the council has no powers to disqualify them from their elected role."

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