Detective’s pub brawl appeal is dismissed

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A drunken murder squad detective convicted of terrorising a village pub nearly ended up behind bars when he tried to overturn the verdict.

Det Sgt Paul Whiteley was fined less than a fortnight’s wages when he was first dealt with at the magistrates court.

But when he appealed against the conviction he was given a suspended jail sentence for “aggressive and bullying behaviour”.

Whiteley of Wakefield- whose career with the West Yorkshire Police is now in ruins - jumped up from his seat and ran out the court room.

After a one day hearing at York Crown Court Recorder Andrew Kershaw and two magistrates took less than ten minutes to reject the appeal.

The court heard Whitely was on holiday with then partner Claire Hughes (43) at a campsite near Robin Hood’s Bay.

They spent seven hours drinking the best part of three bottles of red wine between them before staggering towards Ms Hughes’ Vauxhall Corsa in the pub car park.

Holiday maker Carl Sarsfield, 41, from Oldham was in the pub and stopped them driving. The drunken couple went back in the bar, sat down at the next table to Mr Sarsfield’s party, and started arguing.

Whiteley tore his shirt off slurring: “Come on. I can do what I want. I’m a copper. I will rip your head off.”

Six ft 3 ins tall Whiteley slapped shaven headed Mr Sarsfield in the face calling him “baldy” and “fat face”.

The shorter man pushed him back and Whiteley was so drunk he fell on the floor.

On being told the police were on the way, Whiteley said: “I am the police. Do what you want. I’m not bothered” and “do you know who I am?”

He claimed Mr Sarsfield attacked him first but Nicholas Rooke, barrister for the Crown, said: “You thought you would teach Mr Sarsfield a lesson and would get away with it. You are trying to save your skin.”

Whiteley had been fined £550 with a £55 surcharge in July with £850 court costs. The judge said: “This was an assault by a police officer in a public place on an innocent member of the public in the presence of children and other people. There are so many aggravating features here.

“When a police officer declares himself to be a police officer and behaves in the fashion this officer did - for the avoidance of doubt - nothing less than a custodial sentence can be imposed for his aggressive and bullying behaviour. It was not spur of the moment madness.”

He sentenced Whiteley to 28 days custody only suspending it for 12 months because of his 23 years service as an officer.

Whiteley was also ordered to pay a further £620 court costs for the appeal on top of the other penalties imposed by Scarborough magistrates.

Disciplinary hearings ‎ by West Yorkshire Police, stayed during the appeal, will now resume - or the case may be fast-tracked before the Chief Constable, officials say.

An announcement is expected in a matter of weeks.

Whiteley, suspended since the incident in May 2013, refused to comment after the hearing on Friday afternoon.