Belfast Telegraph

Retired pub owner spared prison over intimidating email sent to police officer

By Alan Erwin

A businessman has escaped being sent to jail for intimidating a police witness in an entertainment licensing case.

Bryan West was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, after being convicted over an email sent to the victim.

The Belfast man was also ordered to pay £500 compensation.

The 66-year-old had denied any attempt to intimidate the constable, who was expected to object to a licensing process linked to West.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the email he sent to the policeman in December 2012 "slurred his character".

West ended it by stating: "Looking forward to seeing you in court on Tuesday."

The PSNI officer then received a second email less than an hour later.

Although this email purported to be from a business associate of the accused, the prosecution contended that it had really been written by West.

The case centred on licensing arrangements for a bar and restaurant in Belfast.

West, with an address at Rivergate Lane in Lisburn, Co Antrim, told the court that after 38 years in the licensing trade he had now retired.

During a hearing earlier this year he set out how he had been struggling with personal difficulties and was "angry with the world" when the first email was sent.

But he rejected prosecution claims that he was behind a further message to the officer from the same laptop.

Following his conviction for intimidating a witness the case was adjourned for reports.

In court yesterday District Judge Ken Nixon imposed a six-month jail sentence.

He told West: "You contested the matter so there is no credit there."

But after studying medical reports and other documents he decided to suspend the prison term for two years.

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