A POLICEMAN accused of assaulting a night porter at a hotel in Blunsdon in January has pleaded not guilty.

PC Gary Tester, of Weston-super-Mare, appeared before Swindon Magistrates Court today accused of assault by beating.

The court heard how the 43-year-old officer allegedly beat Terry Sullivan, a night receptionist at the Premier Inn Swindon North, at around 1.30am on January 19.

Nick Barr, who represented the Crown in the case, said that the first officers at the scene, PC Hunt and PC Russell of Wiltshire Police, were in the area when they were approached by Terry.

Mr Barr said: “He complained to them that a couple in room 108 were causing a noise disturbance.”

The officers went to investigate the incident and allegedly found Tester and his partner intoxicated.

When PC Hunt and PC Russell said they were from Wiltshire Police the couple said that they were both police officers too.

PC Hunt and PC Russell asked the couple to keep the noise down before they left.

A while later, Tester allegedly went down to reception and attacked Terry Sullivan.

Mr Barr said: “After the officers left the defendant came down to reception and came around behind the desk into the staff area and then grabbed him by the shirt and said words to the effect of ‘what are you going to do now that they’re gone’.”

A couple of hours later the police called the hotel to ensure that there had been no further incident since PC Hunt and PC Russell had attended the room, at which point Terry said there had been a further incident and two more police officers were sent to the scene.
Tester, who was represented by John Quinn, denied the charge.

During the hearing, there was some debate about the number of witnesses in the case, and whether it was necessary for all four police officers who attended the hotel that night to give evidence at trial.

But after considerable deliberation, the magistrates decided that the police officers’ evidence was pertinent to the case and that their evidence should be included.

David Poots, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We believe that the demeanour of the defendant is relevant to the case and the fact that the first two officers on hand felt they need to ring back to check everything was alright does demonstrate to us that there were ongoing concerns.”

Tester will appear before Chippenham Magistrates Court on August 4.

His trial is expected to last three days.