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Councillor's appeal against assault conviction fails
THE CONVICTION of a Bridport Town Councillor has been upheld on appeal.
Philip Colfox, aged 50, had been found guilty of assault by beating at Weymouth magistrates’ court in June.
The charge related to an incident following a dispute about land next to the home of Stewart and Jennifer Tattershall in Daisys Way, Bridport.
However, Colfox appealed against his conviction to a court of appeal, despite admitting there that his behaviour in the incident was ‘bonkers’.
Dorchester Crown Court heard that Mr Tattershall had erected a fence on the land just after Christmas.
On January 8, Colfox, of Mill Lane Symondsbury, was on his way to a charity appointment when he stopped by the land and reversed his car into the fence, knocking it down.
He then ran into the Tattershalls’ house, opening the second inside door without knocking, and a confrontation took place, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr and Mrs Tattershall said Colfox ‘barged’ Mr Tattershall in the shoulders before pushing him as he left the house.
Mrs Tattershall said Colfox had treated the couple ‘like peasants’ and described his behaviour as that of a ‘wild animal’.
Although he said the description was ‘flowery’, Colfox said: “I can understand someone putting it in that language because of the shouting.”
Colfox said Tattershall told him he had the ‘utmost respect’ for his father, Sir John Colfox, but ‘everybody hates you’.
Of knocking down the fence, he said: “I think it was disrespectful in retrospect.
“I shouldn’t have done it.
“It was definitely out of anger and frustration and grievance but I recognise that I had done something wrong by taking the law in to my own hands.”
But he added: “I thought I was absolutely entitled to do it because it had been erected on my property and I saw no reason to leave it there. I saw it as imperative to get rid of it as soon as possible.
“It wasn’t my intention when I arrived there to reverse to knock it down but when I got closer I thought it was quite a liberty and there was no reason for it to stay any longer and I got a bit cross.”
Colfox was not charged with any offences relating to damage of the fence or entering the house, but with his behaviour during the exchange with Mr Tattershall.
Upholding the conviction, Judge Roger Jarvis told Colfox that the court believed the account given by Mr and Mrs Tattershall.
He said that the bench did not believe Colfox had calmed down when he went in to the house.
He added: “We are sure that he was still angry, very angry.
“There are a number of reasons why we are sure he was very angry – they include his own evidence that the paper produced by Mr Tattershall was the subject of some sort of tug of war.
“That doesn’t seem to us to be consistent with a person who had calmed down.”
He added: “The appeal is dismissed.”
Colfox was ordered to pay £450 costs for the appeal on top of the £1,500 fine, £100 compensation and £300 costs he was ordered to pay at the time of conviction.