The victim, John an off duty Police Officer, was in a takeaway restaurant with his girlfriend following a night out. Just as their food was arriving two separate groups of males, including Dave (the offender), entered the takeaway and began shouting insults at one another. The insults quickly turned to violence and the two groups began fighting.
In order to try and diffuse the situation, John grabbed one of the males and pinned his arms behind his back. Dave saw what was happening and grabbed John’s head from behind, with his fingers going into John’s eyes, scratching his face and giving him a bloody lip. This caused John to release the male and he left the takeaway along with Dave. Dave was arrested a short distance away after being identified by John as having assaulted him.
Dave was a trainee teacher who had never been in trouble with the police before. He fully admitted assaulting the victim and causing the injuries. Ordinarily he would have been prosecuted or received a caution for an Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, however as he worked in a notifiable occupation, this would have meant that he would have lost his job and his chosen career.
John was informed about Dave’s circumstances and agreed to participate in a Restorative Justice Process. He said that at the time of the assault he had felt outnumbered and “vulnerable”. His girlfriend also witnessed the assault and had been extremely upset by it. The referral came to Remedi via the Sergeant who was responsible for deciding the case disposal.
Both participants were extremely keen to meet one another. The restorative justice practitioner met with both parties and as there was complete agreement about the circumstances of the offence and no obvious risks a decision was made to proceed straight to a face to face meeting.
Dave spoke first and firstly acknowledged how sorry he was for his actions and how grateful he was for the opportunity to apologise and not be prosecuted, he said to John “you have saved my career by doing this”. He also went on to say that he would have participated in restorative justice even if he had been prosecuted. Dave said that at the time of the incident he had not realised that John was a Police Officer and that he was just trying to get John off his friend. However, he acknowledged that he had been both reckless and foolish.
John accepted Dave’s apology and explained how the incident had affected him. He said that his role as a Police Officer meant that he was obliged to try and diffuse the situation and that he should not have been assaulted. However, acknowledged Dave’s honesty and bravery in coming to speak to him and offered his hand to shake which Dave accepted.
Both parties said how they felt that restorative justice was the right outcome in this case. Although John felt that Dave shouldn’t just be let off, neither did he think it was proportionate for him to lose his job