Bus made detour to police station after man knocked out teeth
AN off-duty bus driver punched and kicked another man in the face on board a double-decker after a family New Year's Eve Party, a court heard.
Matthew Chappell, aged 31, attacked the man in front of children on board the courtesy service for Citybus staff, Plymouth Crown Court was told.
The double-decker, dropping off families at their homes, made a detour to Charles Cross Police Station, where officers arrested Chappell early on New Year's Day.
His victim was left needing surgery after eight of his front teeth were damaged, the court was told.
But Chappell, who has previous cautions for assault, avoided an immediate prison sentence after a judge ordered him to pay nearly £2,000 for the man's dental treatment.
Chappell, of Arkwright Gardens in Kings Tamerton, admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.
He denied malicious wounding and a judge recorded a not guilty verdict.
Recorder Adrian Hughes gave Chappell a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to comply with a two-month curfew between 10pm and 4am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Chappell must also pay £1,870 in compensation.
David Gittins, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the victim was on board the double-decker laid on by Citybus to take staff home in the early hours of New Year's Day.
He said he went upstairs and saw Chappell arguing with another man.
Mr Gittins said the victim did nothing wrong and told the men to calm down.
But he added Chappell punched him in the face and he fell to the floor, partly because the bus stopped at that point.
Mr Gittins said accounts from witnesses varied, but the injured man believed he was kicked at least three times in the face while on the floor.
The court heard the bus diverted to Charles Cross Police Station, where officers questioned Chappell.
Mr Gittins said: "Eight teeth were damaged, two of which have gone. Six of which should be removed."
He added that the victim had not been able to afford the work.
The court heard Chappell had a previous conviction for drug dealing and several for assault.
Piers Norsworthy, for Chappell, said he was still working as a bus driver and with help from his family, he could pay the compensation within 28 days.
He added he pleaded guilty on the basis of "excessive self-defence".
Mr Norsworthy said the other man, who had not been identified, had made threats and Chappell felt threatened when the victim and others came up the stairs.
Mr Norsworthy said Chappell, who had three children, was very remorseful.
Judge Hughes said: "You meted out excessive and vicious blows".