Emsworth pub landlady spared jail after threatening unruly yobs with Taser

A pub landlady who brandished a Taser at a group of unruly yobs to scare them off after she was assaulted has avoided a jail term.

The Coal Exchange’s manager Dawn Swift was told to cough up over £600 after she threateningly pulled out the weapon – a device ‘encouraged’ to be deployed when defending yourself in South Africa where she used to live.

The landlady had been trying to sort a car in the Emsworth pub’s car park when she was grabbed and kicked.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the group had been causing problems inside and outside the South Street pub.

Dawn Swift, landlady of The Coal Exchange, Emsworth, after her appearance at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court on August 12. Photo: Chris Moorhouse

Police were called just after 11pm on August 22 last year and the 41-year-old publican told an officer she was assaulted.

"She said a group of youths approached her and started a fight," prosecutor Lucy Paddick said on a previous court appearance.

"Miss Swift said there were approximately 10 males and three females involved."

A ‘dark-haired male’ aged between 18 and 20 ‘kicked and grabbed her’ so ‘she punched him back’, the prosecutor added.

She added: "The officers spoke to a witness who provided footage of a female using a Taser on a male."

When asked for the Taser, Swift said it was ‘gone’ but it was then retrieved from the car she was working on.

In court Swift admitted having a Taser, brandishing it and putting it in a glovebox of the car she was fixing.

But Swift denied using it – and claimed she did not see anyone else do so. Prosecutors accepted her basis of plea that she did not use it.

"The crown can’t say who used the Taser," Ms Paddick said.

At her sentencing hearing yesterday, prosecutor Graham Heath said: "She went and got the Taser out, which is something encouraged in South Africa where she is from.

"She accepted she produced it, which was seen by everyone else."

Swift was fined £500, told to pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £50.

Previously, district judge David Robinson said the ‘starting point for the court’s consideration is a custodial sentence in this case’.

Police said at the time that a 40-year-old woman and three men aged 52, 23, and 18, had been assaulted in the incident.

Swift is not the pub’s licensee. She admitted possession of a Taser.