Ex-Army major Shaun Edwards clashed with 67-year-old during morning rush hour
Edwards given four-month jail term, suspended for two years
General Dental Council suspends his fitness to practise for second year
Shaun Edwards (pictured), 46, was spared jail after he admitted the ‘appalling and terrifying’ attack on 67-year-old Albert Finney. A road rage dentist who knocked out a pensioner’s teeth and broke his cheekbone with a single blow has been banned from the profession for a second year.
Shaun Edwards, 46, was spared jail after he admitted the ‘appalling and terrifying’ attack on 67-year-old Albert Finney. The former Army major leapt out of his black BMW and issued his victim with the chilling warning: ‘If you knew who I am, you wouldn’t tangle with me.’
Edwards, who at the time was running the Sneyd Dental Practice in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, was handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, when he appeared in court.
He was suspended for 12 months in January 2011 after a General Dental Council committee ruled his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of his conviction. After the case was reviewed one year on, the GDC committee decided Edwards’ suspension should continue.
Lydia Barnfather, for the GDC, had told how Edwards clashed with Mr Finney during the morning rush hour on November 30, 2009, in Festival Park, Cobridge, Stoke.
Mr Finney, a cleaning contractor, was at the wheel of his red van when Edwards suddenly pulled out causing him to slam on the brakes.
Further down the road, Edwards’ BMW ended up getting blocked by Mr Finney, who got out of his van ‘to explain’, said the solicitor.
Ms Barnfather said: ‘Mr Edwards got out of his vehicle and walked back to Mr Finney. ‘In an appalling and terrifying moment of loss of self-control, Mr Edwards attacked him. ‘His recollection was there was a headbutt and a punch. ‘He describes a punch with his right fist to the bottom of his left side jaw.
‘He felt his nose bleeding and put a hanky to his nose.’
Edwards, a dentist and former Army major, choked back tears as he described the road rage incident in Newcastle-under-Lyme (above) as a ‘terrible era’
The victim exclaimed: ‘Are you crazy?’ and the dentist replied: ‘If you knew who I am, what I’ve done and what I’ve been through, you wouldn’t tangle with me.’ Edwards was interviewed by police three days later, when he claimed he was defending himself against Mr Finney and only went for him with a ‘girlish swing’. ‘At this stage I think he is going to assault me, or trying and assault me again,’ he said. ‘I put my head down and swung at him in a non-accurate manner.’
Edwards admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm at Stoke-On-Trent Crown Court on May 26, 2010. In addition to the suspended sentence, he was ordered to pay Mr Finney £7,474 compensation, plus £1,200 court costs. He was also ordered to complete 220 hours of unpaid work.
The married father-of-two, who grew up in Cannock, Staffordshire, and qualified in Liverpool, choked back tears as he described the affair as a ‘terrible era’. At the initial hearing, he said: ‘I totally overreacted. ‘The shame I’ve brought on myself, the practice, the profession, the remorse is almost overwhelming at times.
‘I’d like to apologise to Mr Finney if he was here.
‘If I can offer reassurance that it won’t happen again, I’d like to do so now. ‘It is a very, very painful experience. I would not like to be here again.’
GDC committee chairman Howard Jones said at his review hearing: ‘The committee, having listened to representations from both sides, has decided that, in the interests of justice and consistent with the decision already taken on sanction, the suspension should take immediate effect.’
The suspension order will be reviewed again in one year’s time.
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Major Edwards should challenge the 220 hours of unpaid work as irrelevant and offer to attend and complete an anger management course with any counselling or perhaps military counsellors recommended by the court instead.
220 hours unpaid work is just taking advantage of Edwards than anything else, and has no relevance to the offence, nor will 220 hours unpaid work help Edwards better control anger to prevent another similar situation. At the same time, the ‘victim’ Finney should also be made to see a counsellor about his mode of interaction that led Edwards to think he was going to be assaulted and to pre-emptively strike Finney to avoid being hurt. Kinda jumpy for a military man isn’t he? Thought they were trained to be calmer, especially officers.
Imprisoning at the taxpayer’s expense though is wrong again, has no relevance at all. The suspended 4 month sentence should be scrapped and replaced by the above suggestions instead, contributes to the economy, allows Finney to remain productive during the suspended sentence and will be far cheaper, as well as gives some business and experience to the counselling establishment instead.