Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon denies assaulting nightclub doorman after 'swinging his belt at victim's head'

A Premier League footballer is to stand trial for allegedly assaulting a nightclub doorman with his belt. Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon appeared at Guildford Magistrates Court in connection with the incident in Church Street, Reigate, Surrey, in the early hours of December 17. The 31-year-old, of Kingswood, had been partying with friends at nearby nightclub Mishiko beforehand.

Puncheon arrived at court walking with the aid of crutches, having been injured in a match against Manchester City on Sunday. He entered not guilty pleas to a section four public order offence, causing fear or provocation of violence and a second charge of common assault.

Puncheon hobbled into court on crutches

A third charge of possession of an offensive weapon was withdrawn by the prosecution. Darren Matravers, prosecuting, told the court: "The defendant is caught on CCTV removing the belt from his trousers then approaching a group of people and swinging that belt.

"At that stage it doesn't appear the belt connects with anybody.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon denies assaulting nightclub doorman after 'swinging his belt at victim's head'Puncheon arrived at court dressed in a black suit

"By committing that act he effectively is causing the fear of immediate violence and hence the section four public order charge against him. "He walks away, then returns to the group still with the belt in his hand and again he swings the belt and the second time the belt buckle is at the free end and that connects with the back of the victim's head who has been identified as Paul Mendy, a member of the security staff at the location. "Fortunately he wasn't injured after receiving the blow to the head."

Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon denies assaulting nightclub doorman after 'swinging his belt at victim's head'Puncheon is out for the season due to an injury

Mr Matravers said police officers attended and reported that Puncheon continued to use "aggressive behaviour".

Gary Bloxsome, defending, said the CCTV footage described by the prosecutor was a "snapshot" and did not show the events leading up to the incident.

He said it did not show "the defendant being picked upon, this defendant having difficulties within the club, then having additional difficulties.

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