Man in court after "inflaming" situation following South Shields interchange attack on his partner

His act was severe enough for him to be charged with a low-level public order offence.
South Shields interchange.South Shields interchange.
South Shields interchange.

A South Tyneside man crossed the line between gallantry and aggression when he defended his girlfriend from verbal abuse and possible violence at a busy transport hub.

Gary Barber, 34, interjected then stood calmly as the culprit was grappled to the ground by security staff at South Shields town centre’s travel interchange.

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But Barber, of Laygate, South Shields, then lost his cool and hit the instigator as he lay subdued on the floor on Saturday, August 26, a court heard.

His act of limited abuse was severe enough for him to be charged with a low-level public order offence.

Appearing before borough magistrates, he pleaded guilty to using threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to provoke unlawful violence.

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There was no prosecution opening but defence solicitor, Mark Harrison, told the hearing: “It was a guilty plea at the first time of asking.

“At the interchange, an argument ensued between this defendant and another man and the defendant’s partner.

“The other man has squared up to the defendant. It was caught on CCTV, as was other behaviour towards the defendant’s partner.

“Staff from security intervened and they were much more invested with the other male than the defendant in that they took him to the ground and sat on him.

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“The defendant’s sin was that at that point, he doesn’t move away, he doesn’t leave him alone. He approached and hit him, leading the other man to strike out with his legs.

“While the defendant was not the principal protagonist, his behaviour inflamed and not calmed the situation.”

Magistrates fined Barber £120 and ordered him to pay £85 court costs and a £48 victim surcharge.