Jaws it ain’t.
On 13th Monday 2015 Kenneth Meech was convicted of one offence of Common Assault for hitting Cgagi Gladyng, a steward at the Hive Stadium. He was fined.
What lead to this hitting the newspapers was the weapon used – an inflatable shark.
On 21st February 2015 Kenneth Meech, a 51 year old Grimbsy Town fan (in the fifth tier of English and Welsh football) was at Barnet Town FC, cheering on his team to a 3-1 victory.
A week before a fellow supporter had been put in a headlock and ejected from a different stadium after being embroiled in an argument over an inflatable football.
In solidarity with him, various Grimsby Town supporters decided to take other inflatable objects, with Mr Meech deciding on a large inflatable shark.
At the end of the match, Mr Meech was celebrating when, to put it neutrally, he hit a steward with his inflatable friend. As a consequence of this, he was arrested and charged with common assault.
We presume that the allegation was that Mr Meech deliberately hit Mr Gladyng around the head with the shark – if it was the case that the steward was hit by accident during the course of the celebration (even if Mr Meech should have taken more care) then it would hardly seem to be in the public interest to prosecute.
In any event, Mr Meech was found guilty. The magistrates did not take it that seriously – he was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay Mr Gladyng £100 as compensation.
Guidance for Common Assault sentencing in the Crown Court is available (page 23). Here, although a shark is a ‘weapon’ of sorts, it’s pushing it to say that that’s what the drafters intended.
On that basis, it is clearly a Category 3 offence, and so the sentence passed seems about right.
Despite the conviction, Mr Meech kept his sense of humour about the whole business, saying afterwards that he was ‘a bit deflated’ about the outcome.
There’s no news yet as to whether Mr Meech will appeal.