Palace react after Puncheon ordered to do community service

Matt Stead

Crystal Palace captain Jason Puncheon has been ordered to do more than 200 hours of community service after using his belt to lash out at a group outside a nightclub, and telling a bouncer he could afford to buy a house with the clothing item.

Puncheon was seen to twice strike out with his belt in the melee, and challenged police to arrest him, Staines Magistrates’ Court heard.

The 31-year-old had been due to stand trial on Monday but changed his plea at the last minute, admitting a public order offence after his behaviour outside Mishiko nightclub in Surrey on December 17.

He had been out with his footballer friend Ben Chorley, who plays for National League side Bromley, and their wives.

Chorley himself ended up in the dock after Puncheon was sentenced, having taken a photograph and short clip during the hearing. The 35-year-old father of two was fined £1,000 for a contempt of court offence.

Puncheon was acting in self-defence, his lawyer Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC said, but this argument was dismissed by District Judge Michael Snow.

He said: “It’s quite clear to me that he had completely lost control of his behaviour at that time. And he was striking indiscriminately at that group.”

The judge added: “The CCTV is clear and unarguable. No-one viewing that CCTV I’m afraid could come to a different conclusion.

“He was not acting in self-defence or in the defence of another (when he used the belt).”

Puncheon was handed a community order, requiring him to carry out 210 hours of unpaid work, and was told to pay £250 compensation to bouncer bouncer Paul Mendy, who he struck out at with his belt. He was also ordered to pay £930 towards prosecution costs and an £85 Government surcharge.

A Palace spokesman said: “This was a regrettable incident and entirely out of character. The matter will be dealt with internally.”

A further charge of assault by beating was dropped after no evidence was offered by the prosecution.

The court heard Puncheon has a previous conviction for assaulting a police officer in 2004, for which he received a 12-month conditional discharge, and driving offences including no insurance and no licence four years later.