Hotel employee fined for punch

THE assistant manager of Sidmouth’s Belmont Hotel has been fined for assaulting a former colleague.

Sahin Dolu, 29, pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault against Mathuie Leclerc at Exeter Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The charge relates to an incident in the early hours of Sunday, December 20. At the time both men worked at the hotel on the Esplanade, and group of staff had gone out in the town and ended up in a nightclub.

Prosecuting, Chris Bittlestone said that toward the end of the night, it seemed as if Mr Leclerc was punched.

“It was completely unexpected, he didn’t see the punch coming,” he said.

This punch to the jaw, which at first was suspected to have broken it, left Mr Leclerc in severe discomfort for around six weeks.

Representing Dolu, who lives at the hotel, Stephen Nunn, said that there was history between the men. The cumulative effect of insults and comments made over time had led Dolu to lose his temper. That night had been “the last straw”.

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“My client got mad, and when he saw Mr Leclerc outside he was still mad and punched him,” he said. “He accepts he shouldn’t have done it.”

References from hotel staff were presented to the court testifying to the ongoing tension between the men.

Mr Nunn told the court Mr Leclerc had returned to France, so there was no chance of such an incident happening again, and that the risk to the public of Dolu reoffending was “negligible”.

Accepting that there had been provocation of a racial nature over time, magistrates refrained from taking the usual community order route. Instead they fined Dolu �450, reduced to �300 in light of his early guilty plea, made up to �400 with other costs.

There was no order for compensation due to evidence of persistent provocation.