A PUB manager, described by staff as the 'best boss' and a 'father figure', has been found guilty of sexually touching a staff member – but says he will appeal against the judgement.
District Judge Bodfan Jenkins found Park Hotel manager Peter Davies guilty following a trial, which began at Cardiff & Vale Magistrates Court on October 10, before a seven-week break, and concluded on November 28.
60-year-old Davies, of Park Crescent, pleaded not guilty to a charge of ‘intentionally touching a woman and that the touching was sexual when she did not consent and you did not reasonably believe that she was consenting (contrary to section 3 of the Sexual Offence Act 2003)’. The charge related to April 16.
The court heard the accuser, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had worked a shift at the Park Hotel and decided, along with two colleagues, to remain at the pub and drink with Davies. The colleagues left after 1am, but the woman stayed on.
The court was told that Davies had touched her breasts, and as she was leaving, grabbed her from behind and touched her private parts.
Prosecutor Ffion Thomas said that, on previous occasions, Davies had offered the barmaid £150 to strip, £60 if she would show her breasts, and had kissed her ‘open-mouthed’ on the lips - which he denied.
Giving evidence via video link on October 10, the former barmaid - who resigned three shifts after the incident - said Davies would comment on how attractive she was, and make comments about her breasts.
The court heard that on the night of April 16, Davies had gone to another pub to play skittles but returned to the Park Hotel where he had drinks with staff who left, and the two had ended up alone.
She told the court she hadn't wanted another drink, but he had poured one, so she drank it.
"I didn't want to upset him," she said. "I knew what was going on around me. I just felt a little bit tipsy.
"I finished my drink and my hands were very cold so he grabbed my hands and said ‘cold hands, warm heart’.
"That's when he went to feel my heart and put his hands down my top. I was in shock. I didn't know what to think."
She told the court she finished her drink and went to get her bag and coat, but he put his hands around her tightly and touched her private parts over her trousers.
She said he asked her to text him when she got home, which she had done, before receiving a text which referred to her nipples.
She claimed that when she returned to work for her next shift, Davies had told her ‘I am sorry for molesting you’.
"It was my first job. I didn't know what a manager should be like," she added.
She told a friend what had happened and her mother later went to the pub to hand in her resignation letter.
But Davies, giving evidence, said he would warn female staff about wearing low cut tops, tell staff not to talk to friends when they were supposed to be working, pay staff to give him lifts to meetings, and offer them advice - including the accuser - when they went to him asking.
Staff would sometimes also exchange a hug, kiss on the cheek, pat on the back or handshake with him at the end of a shift, he said. He also told the court the young staff would engage in "banter" which was sometimes sexual.
He denied offering the woman money to bare her breasts or strip, and said he would not contemplate kissing with an open mouth "because my false teeth would fall out".
He admitted he had pressed his knuckles to her chest when saying ‘cold hands, warm heart’, but denied putting his hand down her top and couldn't recall sending a text about her nipples.
He said he had grabbed the barmaid when she stumbled in the passage.
"I grabbed her before she fell and hit the floor,” he said.
"If she had fallen she would seriously have injured her head."
Defence witnesses in court, and more than ten good character statements which were read out, described Davies - who has been in the service industry for 23 years - as ‘a lovely man’, ‘understanding’, ‘a good employer’ and ‘a good friend’.
Summing up and defending Davies, Lowri Wynn Morgan said that putting his knuckles on the barmaid's chest was a foolish thing to do, but added: "There is no evidence in this case that he had carried out a sexual assault on this girl."
Announcing a guilty verdict, after more than an hour and a half deliberation, District Judge Bodfan Jenkins said Davies had "dissembled" and he found him to be an "unimpressive witness".
The hearing was adjourned until December 18 for sentencing.
Davies said, following the trial, that he planned to appeal against the judgement.