Lawyer denies acting like `pompous bully' in attack

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The Independent Online

The solicitor who dragged a woman out of his office and on to the street denied yesterday in court that he was a "pompous bully" and said he treated her "like a kindly old policeman".

The incident in which the wife of a wealthy self-made property developer was thrown onto the street and then pinned to the floor when she returned for her fur coat, took place at Child and Child's offices in Belgravia, central London last April.

The row had developed after Allen Chubb, 52, a senior partner, told Laura Harold, 32, he refused to give her or her husband a copy of the deeds to their pounds 1m home nearby in Chester Square, until a disputed bill for pounds 3,500 was paid.

When Mrs Harold, 5ft 2in and 73/4 stone, refused to leave without the papers Mr Chubb, 6ft 3in and 141/2, dragged her through the reception area, accompanied by a female colleague. As he cast her on to the street he fell down the stone steps in the commotion. He accused Mrs Harold of then charging rugby-style back into the offices, and said he restrained her until she agreed to leave quietly.

Mr Chubb, who is accused of assault with actual bodily harm and false imprisonment in a private prosecution brought by Mrs Harold at the Inner London Crown Court Court, told the jury yesterday he was surprised when Mrs Harold arrived alone at his office, following a visit earlier that morning from her husband, Michael, while he himself was still at home. But he insisted he only used "reasonable force" in ejecting her.

He said: "I knew it was important for me to talk to her in a clear, gentle manner ... I said things like `Come on Mrs Harold, out we go.' Really I would say I was talking to her like a kindly old policeman."

When Mr Chubb, a former special constable, was asked by Jonathan Goldberg QC, for the prosecution, whether he would have done the same to Mr Harold, he said he might have done. He denied he was "self-important", "officious", "pompous", and a "bully", who had taken out his annoyance on Mrs Harold.

He said he had been surprised to discover that Mrs Harold was bruised all over her body. "I was expecting her to have some bruising to her legs," he said. "The other marks on her body were a surprise to me ... I thought I'd done a relatively good job in getting her out without hurting her."

The case, known as the "battle of Belgravia", continues.