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Holidaymaker Cleared of Drunken Assault in Manchester Bar

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
17 April, 2015

Lead Lawyer

Case study summary

Our client, a young man in his 20's, visited Manchester with friends. Enjoying the city's nightlife, they found a nightclub. Our client was accused of drunkenly striking a lady which resulted in her losing teeth. He was arrested and charged with ABH and was acquitted at trial.

Case study

Our client was a young man in his early 20's who worked for the NHS. A hardworking Yorkshireman, he volunteered in his spare time coaching football to underprivileged children. He had never had any dealings with the police at all. He and a group of friends regularly holidayed in different cities in the UK and would travel together for weekend breaks.

Our client's holiday, on this occasion, brought him to Manchester. After a day of sightseeing, he and his friends began to enjoy the City's excellent nightlife. By the early hours of the morning our client found himself in one of Manchester's nightclubs in the Northern Quarter. He was, by this stage, worse for wear after a few hours of drinking. He began speaking to a lady at the bar. It appears the conversation did not go well and it resulted in the lady being struck to the face. She lost teeth. The matter was reported to police and our client was arrested and charged to attend Court facing a count of causing Actual Bodily Harm. It was at this stage that he instructed Mary Monson Solicitors.

We held an initial conference with our client to get his version of events. His drunkenness at the time meant he had no recollection of events at all. He made clear that he didn't accept that he would ever be the aggressor in a situation like this.

It was clear from our meeting with the client that we would need to painstakingly piece together the events of the evening. CCTV of the event itself was obtained from the CPS. It was of mixed quality but clearly showed an altercation of sorts. The footage was slowed down and we carefully analysed every second of the clip, and then produced a moment by moment chronology of events. The client's strike of the complainant was immediately apparent. Our study of the footage revealed, however, that the complainant's body language was aggressive throughout their exchange and that, in the moment immediately before our client's reaction, she had in fact moved towards and pushed our client first. It became clear that our client's reaction had been instinctive self-defence.

The complainant in the case, in her statement to police, had described how the events of the evening had left her living, in her words, like a "hermit". She claimed to have been too scared to leave her house following these events and that the loss of her teeth had meant she now never smiled in public. We undertook a social media trawl and identified various events and pictures from her Facebook account which clearly showed all of these claims to be false. We created an album of screenshots from her profile for further use at trial.

Finally, we obtained an assortment of character references from our client's friends and family. These described him as a mild-mannered young man who became a friendly drunk. All described the idea that he would set out to assault somebody in this way as a nonsense.

Our comprehensive preparation of the case led to an attack on the prosecution case from all angles. We ensured that the Court made available a large TV screen so that the CCTV footage could be enhanced and clearly shown to the jury. Our preparation of a bundle showing the complainant's lively social life after the incident meant that our barrister could demonstrate the complainant had exaggerated the impact of events upon her. Finally, the character references obtained painted a clear picture to the jury of the type of man our client was. Our client's final experience of Manchester, a number of months after his initial visit, was listening to the foreman deliver the unanimous decision of his jury; that he was Not Guilty of the offence. He returned across the Pennines with his good character fully intact.

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