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Young Professional Cleared of Assault on Bouncer

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
29 April, 2021
Criminal
Assault

Lead Lawyer

Case study summary

Our client was a young professional and recent university graduate. He was accused of ABH against a bouncer at a student union event. CCTV captured the fight and he was charged. We analysed the footage, going through every second with our client. He was found Not Guilty at trial.

Case study

Our client was a young man who had recently graduated from university. He was looking forward to the next stage in his life as he moved on from full-time education into the world of employment. However, an exchange with an excitable bouncer threatened his future career.

The client had gone with his friends from Yorkshire to a student union event in Manchester. The incident occurred at the end of the night. One of the client's friends had become extremely drunk to the point that he could barely stand. The client and his group of friends began to escort their friend from the venue. At this stage a bouncer decided to interfere by forcibly removing the drunk friend rather than leave it to the group of friends. An argument had then developed with our client. The bouncer then tried to eject our client as well. Our client had responded by pushing the bouncer back. The situation deteriorated, culminating in our client headbutting the bouncer.

He was arrested and represented by a local duty solicitor. He was interviewed by the police. Unfortunately, he told the police that the headbutt had been accidental during the course of the struggle. CCTV had then been obtained by the police and undermined his account. It showed clearly that the headbutt was deliberate. The bouncer had provided a statement and suffered injuries including a broken arm and suspected broken nose. The client was duly charged with ABH.

We were instructed by the client before his first appearance at the Magistrates' Court. We obtained the CCTV from the prosecution and very carefully analysed it. The overall context of the headbutt became clear - that while it had certainly been a deliberate act, it was an act of self-defence. An argument had taken place between our client and the bouncer. However, we were able to see that the bouncer, far from seeking to defuse the situation, had been the aggressor. Our client had only headbutted the bouncer after he had been put into a headlock. This had effectively been the only action available to the client to defend himself at that moment. His actions could therefore be argued to be both reasonable and proportionate. A frame-by-frame timeline of the footage was put together, and then carefully worked through with the client. We advised our client to request a jury trial, and so the case was transferred to the Crown Court.

We instructed a specialist barrister to join the team. We focused on the narrative of the CCTV and our client's good character. This careful preparation in advance meant that the barrister was able to cross-examine the bouncer to devastating effect. The bouncer claimed that he had been acting upon a duty of care and was trying to protect the drunk friend. We rubbished this claim in court. In fact, the damage to the prosecution case was so bad that the Crown Prosecution Service withdrew the case mid-trial, and they offered no evidence against our client. The judge ordered the jury to find our client Not Guilty, and he was able to continue his career in finance without any stain on his character.

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