N-Dubz rapper avoids jail for garage brawl

 

N-Dubz rapper Dappy broke down in tears and shouted 'Yes' after he avoided a jail term today when he was sentenced for assault and affray.

The singer was given a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months at Guildford Crown Court and ordered to do 150 hours community service. He was also ordered to pay £4,500 compensation and £2,000 in costs.

The 25-year-old had faced a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment after being convicted in connection with a brawl at a petrol station in Guildford.

The court heard during a nine-day trial last month that the pop star became angry and violent after two teenaged women “disrespected” him by refusing to get into his car to go to a party at his recording studios, sparking the fight which led to three men being injured.

The trial was told that Dappy, charged under his real name of Costadinos Contostavlos, was out on February 27 last year celebrating the release of his single Rockstar featuring Queen guitarist Brian May.

After spending the night in the VIP area of the Casino nightclub in Guildford drinking sambuca shots and Jack Daniels, the group headed back in three cars to the recording studios in Godalming, where Dappy was recording his debut solo album.

The group stopped at the Shell garage in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, at about 3.30am on February 28 where the violence erupted.

Brian Stork, prosecuting, said Dappy approached the two 19-year-olds, Grace Cochran and Serena Burton, sitting on the kerb outside the station shop and tried to persuade them to get into the car with him.

When they refused these advances and began to ridicule him by calling him "boring", Dappy became angry and called them "sluts".

He told the court: "They had shown me disrespect, a lot."

Dappy denied swearing and spitting at them and was found not guilty of two charges of common assault in relation to the spitting.

Mr Stork said a man called David Jenkins, who had been talking to the two women, stepped in to protect them but was spat at by Dappy.

This spitting, which hit Mr Jenkins, mades up the charge of assault by beating which Dappy was convicted of.

Mr Jenkins put Dappy in a headlock, leading to several other people joining in the fight, including co-defendants Kieran Vassell and Alfred Miller.

Mr Jenkins suffered several broken teeth in the fight while another man, Oliver Billson, suffered a swollen eye and Christopher Gibson's nose was broken.

Dappy denied attempting to pick up the two women and told the court that he only spoke to them to promote his single.

He denied spitting at them and at Mr Jenkins and said his following actions were simply as self-defence to get out of the headlock.

Vassell denied affray and said he only acted to protect Dappy.

The defence said that Miss Cochran and Miss Burton were "unreliable witnesses" as they had sent Twitter and BlackBerry (BBM) messages saying they intended to sell their stories to the national newspapers.

Miss Burton also sent a message saying that she could not remember what happened and that she would "bullshit" when she gave evidence.

The court was told that Dappy had previous convictions for assault and possessing a bladed weapon.

In November 2005, he was sentenced to a community order for possessing a bladed weapon in a public place.

In September 2007, he was given 40 hours of community service for battery when he pushed a taxi driver following an argument in Camden, north London.

And in December 2008, he was given a four-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation for two battery offences which related to him spitting at two women.

Paul Greaney, defending Dappy, said a prison term would bring an end to his career as a singer.

He said: "It is inevitable now that he will not be able to visit or work in America.

"Furthermore, as a result of the convictions, certain important radio stations will not play his records.

"His earning capacity now is extremely limited and those responsible for his management believe a period of custody will bring his career to an end."

He added: "People depend on Mr Contostavlos, I mention not only his family, his mother and brother and his partner and children but a number of people who work for him.

"He is terrified, in particular, not of what will happen to him but that he will not be able to provide financially for his family and others. That is a genuine concern he has expressed to me."

He continued: "These proceedings have had a quite massive impact on Mr Contostavlos and the court would be entitled to conclude that he has learnt a very important lesson indeed and he has shown real insight into the impact on his victims of his behaviour that night."

Mr Greaney added that Dappy had shown this by intervening on Twitter when the two female witnesses received "extremely unpleasant" messages from some of the rapper's supporters.

He said: "This defendant, on that conduct being apparent to him, went on his own Twitter account to post a message to make it clear that he deplored this behaviour and that no fan or associate of his should indulge in that conduct and that did have a real effect and did help bring it to an end."

Praying as the verdict was announced, Dappy, wearing a white shirt and black tie, broke down in tears and shouted "Yes" as Judge Neil Stewart announced that the prison term would be suspended.

He was ordered to pay compensation of £2,000 to Mr Jenkins, £1,500 to Mr Gibson and £1,500 to Mr Billson and was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards court costs.

Dappy's sentence was made up of six months for the affray offence and 14 days to run concurrent for the assault offence.

Judge Stewart told Dappy that although the offences he committed were serious enough to attract a custodial sentence, he would suspend it because of his remorse at his actions.

He said: "The report I have on you suggests you do not present overtly criminal attitudes and this offence has been a wake-up call for you."

He added: "Spitting at someone is a repulsive action and is more serious because you have done something similar in the past.

"Even on that aggravation, the offence would not be so serious as to merit a prison sentence.

"It is clear that this spitting triggered these events that culminated in the affray but was not part of the affray."

Judge Stewart continued that Dappy's actions in resisting the headlock were understandable but the jury had found he had then swung one or two punches at Mr Jenkins once he had been released, meaning that he had participated in the affray.

He added: "Your culpability in the affray was considerably less than that of your co-defendants."

The judge added: "The sentence I have decided on is not affected by any consideration of whether a person is well-known to the public."

PA

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?