Man involved in Norwich street brawl while dressed as an Oompa Loompa is freed by judges

CCTV images of Matthew Wright and Louis Gelinas dressed as oompa loompas during the attack on Prince of Wales Road. Photo: Submitted CCTV images of Matthew Wright and Louis Gelinas dressed as oompa loompas during the attack on Prince of Wales Road. Photo: Submitted

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
5:47 PM

A man who was jailed for attacking a man in a street brawl while dressed as an Oompa Loompa, has today been freed by judges.

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Matthew James Wright, 20, and another man were dressed up as the Willy Wonka characters when they got into an early hours altercation with other nightclubbers on Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road, on December 27 last year.

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Wright, of Decoy Road, Potter Heigham, Norfolk, was sentenced to 10 months detention in a young offenders institution at Norwich Crown Court, after pleading guilty to affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, in September.

Today Lord Justice McCombe, Mr Justice Griffith Williams and Judge James Goss QC, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, slashed his sentence to four months, after accepting the bizarre incident was not part of a “significant local problem” in Norwich.

The court heard that verbal insults were hurled about the way the victims were dressed before the fight ensued.

After the fracas, one of those targeted by the men dressed as Oompa Loompas was taken to hospital with bruising and concussion.

However Ian James, for Wright, argued in the Appeal Court today that the men dressed as Oompa Loompas had also been insulted about their costumes.

“The assault was in part provokek and only one blow was struck, which caused a not particularly serious injury,” the barrister said.

The main thrust of the appeal was directed against the judge’s decision to pass a deterrent sentence, on the basis that the brawl was typical of “a local problem which required a local solution.”

Mr James asserted that that conclusion was wrong, and Lord Justice McCombe agreed.

Allowing the appeal, the judge said: “There are undoubtedly worrying incidents of late night violence on Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road, but that is not a problem unique to Norwich.

“There is no evidence that the problem is any worse there than in many cities and towns, nationwide.

“We quash the sentence of 10 months and replace it with a total sentence of four months.”

That decision means Wright will now walk free, having completed his sentence.

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