PC hen party fight dad’s appeal thrown outBy Hugh Fort
December 22, 2010
A man has become the second member of his family to fail in a bid to cut his sentence after a brawl with off-duty policewomen at a Bracknell hotel’s Abba tribute night.
Mark Harris, 45, of Guilford, was jailed for eight weeks at Reading Crown Court last month after admitting battery and a public order offence.
An appeal against his sentence failed after three judges at London’s Court of Appeal ruled the sentence was not “manifestly excessive”.
His lawyers argued the judge in Reading had overestimated Harris’ role in the brawl, which happened at the Hilton Hotel in Bagshot Road in April.
During the case at Reading, the court heard how Harris had kicked a door and wrestled with police when he was arrested.
However, he denied kicking the door and said the police had aggravated a back injury when arresting him.
Harris was arrested after his sons, Mark and Henry, had started a fight with two guests at the hotel during the party.
The victims, brothers Mark and Philip Mason, were injured in the brawl, with Philip being knocked out and his brother suffering a fractured jaw.
A group of off-duty policewomen celebrating a hen night then intervened and Harris, his sons and his wife Maureen were all arrested.
Mrs Harris failed in her appeal against a jail term last week, although she has since been freed having served her sentence.
Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice Davis and Mr Justice Lindblom, said that as a father, Harris should have tried to calm the situation down rather than getting involved.
He said: “We do not regard whether the appellant kicked the door or not as central to the case.
“The seriousness was clearly summarised by the judge [in Reading].
“The judge had a clear grasp of the nature of the offences and approached the case accordingly.
“The sentences in our view, were entirely appropriate and we see no merit in the appeal.”
Harris’ son Mark was jailed for 18 months for assault, his son Henry to six months detention for assault and his wife for four weeks.