Dappy facing jail term for assault
Former N-Dubz singer Dappy faces jail after being found guilty of assaulting a man at a nightclub.
The 27-year-old, who was tried under his real name Costadinos Contostavlos, was found guilty of punching Devonn Reid on the dance floor of Evissa nightclub in Reading on October 6 last year.
The singer committed the offence while serving a six-month suspended sentence for a previous affray and assault, which could now be activated.
District Judge Davinder Lachhar told Reading Magistrates' Court: "Custody is a realistic prospect as far as this case is concerned in light of his record."
The court heard the fight broke out because Contostavlos began chatting to Mr Reid's female friend and girlfriend at the club's bar, and that the singer punched him after Mr Reid told him not to talk to them.
Describing the lead up to the incident, Mr Reid said he and his friends were on the dance floor when Contostavlos approached them and asked them if they had a problem before offering them a drink.
Mr Reid said he later saw his friend Marie O'Reilly and his girlfriend Cydney Webb chatting with Contostavlos at the bar, that the singer had his arm around Ms O'Reilly and Mr Reid thought he was flirting with them.
Mr Reid told the court: "He said something and I said, 'what', and I turned to look at him and that is when he hit me straight on the nose."
Mr Reid added: "He had just turned and hit me straight with his right hand.
"After that we just gone. Bouncers came and grabbed him, I have gone to the toilet to clean myself up. He had popped my nose."
After returning upstairs Mr Reid was thrown out of the nightclub before being arrested when he became aggressive to door staff and police.
He was later released without charge.
Contostavlos arrived at the court wearing dark sunglasses, a white shirt and black trousers, with a matching Yves Saint-Laurent belt and trainers.
Before the trial he posed for "selfie" photos with friends in the corridor outside the court.
Giving evidence, the singer said he had gone to the club with a small group of friends at around midnight on October 5 and initially went to a private seated area.
Describing the mood as "very happy", he said: "It was splendid to be there. It was a very good night, everyone was polite to me and I was being polite back, showing lots of love, taking pictures. It was a good vibe."
Contostavlos said he drank a beer and about four shots of sambuca, and was buying drinks for other people and was giving out "hugs and kisses" on the dance floor.
But he said he got a "vibe" from a group of six or seven "very aggressive" men after he and a friend, Tipper, chatted and flirted with some girls.
He said one of the men approached Tipper to accuse him of thinking he could "take our girls" because he was with the singer.
Contostavlos, from Hatfield in Hertfordshire, said Mr Reid, who was out celebrating his 21st birthday, pushed Tipper in the head and then did the same to him.
He said: "He pushed my head, Mr Reid, and that is when my security pulls me away...
"After I got pulled away there was a big kerfuffle, hands and noise, and I got pulled to the cloakroom."
Asked by his defence barrister, Jon Harrison, whether he had punched Mr Reid, he replied: "Certainly not".
But prosecutor Zainab Mohamed suggested he had been "humiliated" when Mr Reid and his friends did not want a drink with him and warned him off talking with the women in the group.
She said: "You were angry, you were humiliated, you had been drinking alcohol during the evening and you became annoyed at the aggrieved (Mr Reid) when he told you not to talk to them...
"Because you were angry you in fact punched the aggrieved in the nose."
Contostavlos denied hitting Mr Reid, saying it was "two of us and seven boys, and that he was scared because he was outnumbered and they were bigger than him.
But Mrs Lachhar said she found the witnesses, who included Mr Reid's girlfriend Ms Webb and friend Ms O'Reilly, to be"truthful", and found him guilty of assault by beating.
She said: "There is a question of who assaulted him (Mr Reid) and in my mind I have no doubt that you did."
Contostavlos sat with his head in his hands as he realised he could be sent to prison following his conviction for the attack, which occurred while he was serving a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, for a previous incident of affray and assault.
A trial last year heard he sparked a "mob-handed attack" when he spat at Grace Cochran and Serena Burton, who were both 19, at a petrol station in Guildford in February 2012.
The troubled pop star was also fined £800 in June this year for lashing out and slapping a man at a nightclub in Chelmsford, Essex in February.
Contostavlos was bailed to October 6, when he will be sentenced for the assault in Reading.
An investigation is also under way into a possible contempt of court after a photo of a witness at today's trial was posted on social media. It is illegal to take photographs in a court.