A SOLDIER who left a policeman with a broken nose and damaged front teeth was facing prison last week.

Welsh Guardsman James Martin appeared at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court, charged with causing actual bodily harm to Pc Michael Spencer.

The attack happened outside Tony’s fish bar in High Street, Aldershot, in the early hours of December 5.

Beverley Watkins, prosecuting, said police were called to the scene after a disturbance.

Pc Spencer and several colleagues were jostled by a crowd as they attempted to stop Martin, a soldier of five years, from laying further punches on another man.

The court was told that Pc Spencer had grabbed Martin by the arm, saying: “I am the police.”

Martin responded by swearing and butting him, breaking his nose and damaging his front teeth.

With his nose pouring blood, the policeman struggled to stand and was on the verge of losing consciousness when off-duty military police sergeant Mark Holland and another military policeman pushed their way forward after seeing the attack.

Martin was also charged with assault after biting Sgt Holland’s arm as he was chased across Princes Gardens.

The court was shown CCTV pictures of both attacks.

Martin told police he had initially got involved because he recognised that the arguing group were Welsh Guardsmen and he wanted to calm things down. He claimed he had no idea the man he lashed out at was a policeman.

Richard Williams, defending, said Martin, although admitting both charges, stood by his version of events.

He said that when Pc Spencer grabbed Martin’s arm, the soldier thought he was about to be attacked and that when he was caught in Princes Gardens he panicked because CS spray was used in his face.

Admitting Martin’s account differed significantly from the prosecution’s, Mr Williams said: “I think my friend and I agree that the assessment of these events are significantly different.”

He thought that a custodial sentence was not necessary.

The case was adjourned for sentencing at Winchester Crown Court on February 28.

Martin, who lives in Southampton, was bailed on condition he does not visit Aldershot.