Our client was a security guard, but not working when he attended the hotel. As he was leaving, 2 intoxicated and powerfully built men who had been refused entry wanted to fight and each attempted to attack our client who instinctively reacted with a jab. The first man was knocked to the ground, hit his head and was taken to hospital with serious injuries from internal bleeding. Fortunately, he appears to have made a good recovery. Security guards provided statements that indicated that our client was in the process of being attacked and that he reacted in self defence with a single punch to each man. Another witness claimed that our client approached the 2 men and punched the first man for no reason. Our client was charged with this very serious offence and he pleaded not guilty.
The matter was listed for a committal hearing. The witness who claimed that our client intentionally punched the other man gave evidence that was significantly different to what was recorded in his statement to police. There were substantial credibility issues regarding purported identification, positions of persons, his ability to see etc. He had been drinking on the night of the incident. The case only went further downhill from there, and the prosecution sensibly concluded that they had absolutely no chance of winning the case. The experienced prosecutor informed the Magistrate of the difficulties – which the Magistrate said were blatantly obvious on the evidence given. The charge was then dismissed. Once self defence is raised, the onus of proof rests upon the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused did not genuinely believe that it was necessary to act that way in self defence, and the actions taken by the accused was not a reasonable response to the danger as her perceived it. There was no chance of proving this. Not guilty. Happy client.