Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Boat-rage attack at Bristol Harbour Festival

A drunken yachtman who was said to have repeatedly tried to ram a man in an inflatable dinghy at this year's Bristol Harbour Festival pleaded guilty to using threatening words and behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress when he appeared at Bristol Magistrates Court.

During this year's Bristol Harbour Festival on the 1st of August Bevis Musk was travelling in the harbour in his inflateable dinghy. He saw a white yacht heading straight for him and he thought the man at the helm was not paying attention. He took immediate action to avoid a collision and as the vessel passed him the helmsman, Paul Johnson, 47, shouted and swore at Mr Bevis saying, "Come here and I'll sort you out."
Bevis said that Johnson then tried to ram him again and threw a can at him. He took to shelter among some mooring buoys to avoid being hit as Johnson continued to shout and wave his fist — at which point the Harbourmaster intervened.
Johnson's Defence Council, Gayna Ibe, told the court that Johnson had been drunk at the time and although he admitted the offence he did not think that he had aimed his boat at Mr Musk.
Sentencing Johnson to a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months plus 100 hours of unpaid work and 10 days of education, employment or training, District Judge, Martin Brown, said, "This is a very serious public order case because you were in control of a large boat which could well have caused a great deal of harm." 
Johnson, who the Judge said appeared to be a Jekyll and Hyde character and very polite when not drunk, was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation and £85 costs.

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