UK lawmaker admits assaulting 4 in Parliament bar

AP News
Posted: Mar 09, 2012 9:47 AM
UK lawmaker admits assaulting 4 in Parliament bar

A British lawmaker on Friday admitted assaulting four men in a drunken brawl in a House of Commons bar, a breach of Parliamentary etiquette that will cost him 4,400 pounds ($6,950) and a three month ban from entering a pub.

Eric Joyce, who admitted having problems both with alcohol and aggression, was fined 3,000 pounds and ordered to pay 1,400 pounds to his victims after he pleaded guilty to four charges of assault at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Judge Howard Riddle also banned Joyce from entering pubs and other licensed premises for three months and he will be subject to a weekend curfew.

"I've been lucky to avoid prison," Joyce told reporters outside court. A jail sentence of 12 months or more would have meant automatic disqualification from Parliament.

Joyce has already been suspended from the Labour caucus in the Commons. He has said he will not seek re-election in 2015, and he is still subject to further disciplinary measures from Labour and Commons authorities.

Prosecutor Zoe Martin said the brawl on Feb. 27 started after Joyce complained of too many Conservatives in the bar.

Joyce admitted head-butting Conservative lawmaker Stuart Andrew and assaulting two local Conservative officials. His fourth victim was a Labour Party colleague.