by Paul Hooper
The editorial director of an elite Sandwich-based magazine has been jailed for four years after smashing a glass into the face of one of his reporters... after a row over the North-South divide.
Simon Brady, 47, and two staff from Treasury Today – a financial publication based in Harnet Street - had gone out for a drink to the Bell Hotel in June last year.
The boozy birthday celebration – in which they downed lager, scotch, wine, Pernod and B52 cocktails – ended with reporter Christopher Wilson needing stitches for a head wound.
Mr Wilson – who had been taunted by his editor that night as “a small town boy” later won £20,000 in compensation for the incident.
The editor, from south-east London, was convicted by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court of wounding his colleague with intent.
As he was being led away, Brady looked at his partner, who was weeping in the public gallery, and a made a “chin up” gesture with his hand.
Charles Conway, defending, said the editor had been suffering from undiagnosed depression brought on a heart condition and a drink problem.
After the attack Brady checked into a psychiatric hospital, where his depression was treated and he hadn’t been drinking since the attack.
Mr Conway said the career journalist had normally had “a placid temperament” and had an “exemplary character”.
“He can’t remember the incident but he has always accepted that what he had done was criminally wrong. He has completely ruined his life, his job and his good character.
Prosecutor Wendy Hewitt had told the jury at Canterbury Crown Court how the three had been in the Crispin Inn before deciding to stay the night at the nearby Bell Hotel.
She said that during the evening Brady had accidentally spilled drink over colleague Timothy Wallace – who had then gone to bed.
"i accept that this attack was out of character and you are genuinely remorseful" – judge recorder edward connell
But northerner Christopher Wilson and his “middle class” boss carried on bickering in the foyer of the hotel in Sandwich.
Mr Wilson then said his boss began making “patronising” comments over his Northern origins – before suddenly slamming the glass into his face.
He told police: “I had worked with Mr Brady for six months and our relationship was friendly. We would exchange banter from time to time, which could get heated but it had never become aggressive.
“Simon got up and came around the table. I did not see this as any form of threat and felt no fear of his movements at this point.
"If I thought that he was going to hit me I would never have allowed him to sit next to me.
“All of a sudden, I felt an impact to my face with enough force to knock me backwards.
"I did not realise what had hit me until I stood up. There was glass all over me and blood was pouring from my face.”
He claimed he also received another blow to the back of his head.
Mr Wilson said after the attack: “I have no idea why Simon would attack me like this.
"Whilst we have had heated discussions in the past, he has never shown this level of aggression towards me or anybody else.”
The judge Recorder Edward Connell told Brady: “I accept that this attack was out of character and you are genuinely remorseful.”
He said Brady had “an escalating drink problem” and had been urged by friends and family to seek help – but hadn’t until after the attack.
“I have no doubt that had you done so, you would not have found yourself in this position. This is a tragic case.”