Company director punched PC in face at House of Commons

A COMPANY director from Essex has escaped a jail term after being found guilty of punching a policeman in the face yards from the House of Commons Speaker’s seat.

Ian Thomas, 41, was stopped by Pc Christopher Leggett in a corridor as he tried to leave a drinks party hosted by Conservative MP Eric Pickles on Marrch 30 last year.

After being told he was not authorised to be in that area, Thomas launched a “tirade of verbal abuse” against the police officer before hitting him, causing his lip to bleed.

Thomas, of Colchester, had denied assault causing actual bodily harm but a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty by a majority of 11-1 last month.

The court was told that Thomas, who ran educational publishing company Sugar Media, objected to being informed that he needed to be escorted out of the building under the terms of his visitor pass.

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Thomas claimed he acted in self-defence after CS gas was sprayed in his face.

He told the court the gas rendered him temporarily blind and he had not realised he had hit the policeman.

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Derek Barry, mitigating, said the incident was the most shameful of Thomas’ life.

He was given a nine month suspended sentence, ordered to pay �800 costs and �800 compensation and to complete 200 hours’ unpaid work in the community.

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