Two men avoid jail after attacking pub landlord

Two men avoid jail after attacking pub landlord

by Lynda Roughley (June 2022)

TWO friends kicked and punched a pub landlord in Southport after an argument over comments about one of the men's love life.

Kevin Keelan and Kai Finch lashed out at Martin Rowe at The Monument pub, on Hoghton Street, earlier this year leaving him with concussion and cuts and bruises.. 

Nardeen Nemat, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court the Keelan, 42, and Finch, 21, were former colleagues and were both drinking in the public house on the evening of January 15. 

Keelan, a scaffolder, was with a woman he had recently started seeing, having been in the pub the week before with his ex-partner.

He became aggressive when Mr Rowe, whom he went to school with, appeared to suggest to the woman that he still had a girlfriend and began fighting with him.

Keelan punched Mr Rowe then pushed him backwards before Finch began to join in also punching and pushing the landlord towards the corner of the bar.

Finch got a pint glass from behind the bar and threw it at Mr Rowe and “it bounced off his head or shoulder,” said Miss Nemat.

“Mr Rowe was pushed into the door of the toilets trying to protect himself. They both continued to kick and punch him before they were eventually dragged away.”

Their victim suffered concussion, a fat lip, a cut inside his mouth and his thumb knuckle as well as pains to ribs and chest.

In an impact statement he said that he had been left fearing reprisals and had even considered giving up the pub.

Keelan, of Cherry Drive, Ainsdale, and Finch, of Salisbury Street, Southport, both pleaded guilty to assault and affray.

Frank Dillon, defending Keelan,  a dad, who has two convictions from more than a decade ago, felt deep regret over the “ugly” incident.

He said “I can say properly that it is behaviour that is out of character for this defendant. Though he has antecedence it is minor and it is now 17 or 18 years old.” 

Defence barrister, Jacob Dyer, said that Finch, a roofer, who has no convictions, was remorseful.

His actions occurred at “a very low point” when his relationship had just ended and he had lost his job as she was his boss’s daughter and he was out “drowning his sorrows.”

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool, sentenced them both to  nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

He also ordered Keelan to carry out 150 hours unpaid work and he ordered Finch to attend 20 days rehabilitation activities.

Judge Menary imposed a two years restraining order to keep away from their victim and ordered them both to pay £300 compensation.

He told them that violence in public houses involving the use of glass is always regarded as serious but accepted the conduct was out of character for them both.

He said Keelan had clearly been annoyed by what Mr Rowe said to him but said that “whatever it was, it did not justify you in causing any sort of violence against him”. 

The judge told Finch, “You obviously felt you were going to the aid of your friend but he was not at risk of any sort of violence from Martin Rowe. All Mr Rowe did was defend himself. You both then set upon this man.”

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