Student's delight at assault appeal verdict

Reporter:

Adele Forrest

A STUDENT has won her appeal against a criminal conviction for assault and will now be able to carry on working with children at home and in Africa.

Amy Brindley said her life and future career were turned upside down after a visit to McDonald’s in Lloc for a cheeseburger turned into a living nightmare.

Two months ago Amy, from Maes Gruffydd in Trefnant, was found guilty of assault after 20 year-old shift supervisor at the restaurant, Catherine Lloyd, accused her of slapping her on the forehead.

She was placed on a 12-month community order on condition that she carried out 75 hours of unpaid work in the community.

She was also ordered to pay £50 costs and compensation of £100 to Miss Lloyd.
Co-defendant Darren Champion, 23, Amy’s then-boyfriend changed his plea and admitted assaulting Miss Lloyd and a teenager who was present, and stealing a bottle of mint sauce.

As he left Miss Lloyd – who said she was outside helping another customer look for a mobile phone – saw him.
Miss Lloyd began to write down the registration number of Amy’s car and claimed Amy got out of her vehicle, grabbed her pen and slapped her to the forehead.

But at Mold Crown Court on April 9, the conviction against Amy was overturned and the young student walked free cleared of all charges.

Having a criminal conviction meant Amy’s planned trip to Kenya to work with children as part of her degree in childcare at Chester University could not go ahead, and months of fundraising for the trip were wasted.

She said: “It hit me hard, I really have been through hell.”

On September 9 last year, Amy and Champion decided to stop by the McDonald's drive-through after visiting her father’s grave.

She said: “My dad died in October 2008 and I was thinking about him a lot at the time with the first anniversary coming up.

“I had a teary day so Darren took me to visit his grave.

“I then went to pick my bike up from home and on the way back to Chester he said do you want a McDonald’s?”

Amy said she flicked a pen out of Miss Lloyd’s hand because she didn’t understand why Miss Lloyd was taking down her registration number. Two months later Amy was arrested and charged with assault.

She said: “I didn't understand what had happened, then I got interviewed and the police told me I had to go to court.”

It was a two-month wait for Amy until her court appearance which she said was ‘hell’ as her whole career rested on the case.

She added: “I always worked with children and always wanted to teach autistic children but I couldn’t see the point of going to lectures any more, because the allegations were destroying me.”

She was found guilty at court, but then deferred all her university work and concentrated on launching an appeal against the conviction.

At her appeal hearing earlier this month a judge delivered the verdict Amy had been waiting to hear for nearly six months - not guilty.

Amy will now be taking her university exams in August and will continue fundraising for her trip abroad next year.

See full story in the Leader

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