Local rugby player accused of assaulting nurse in pub brawl
A JURY has heard how a nurse had to have a metal plate fitted under his eye socket after a bar brawl broke out in a Fort William pub.
This week, local man, Conor Taylor, 20, stood before a jury in Fort William sheriff court accused of assaulting a 33-yearold psychiatric nurse, while the man was visiting Lochaber.
Taylor, of Lanark Place, Fort William, was charged with repeatedly punching him in the face causing him severe injury and impairment in the Crofter bar on High Street on February 28, 2014 at around 11pm.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, a jury heard evidence from three crown witnesses, including the complainer, and one defence witness.
The court heard that the complainer and three friends had arrived in Fort William on Friday, February 28, to begin a social weekend of ‘pub and pool’.
After arriving at around 1pm the foursome checked into a hotel and headed out on a ‘ low key’ afternoon in the pubs.
Around 11pm, three of the friends headed to the pub where the alleged incident took place soon after. The jury heard that Taylor had approached two of the party and repeatedly asked one of the alleged victim’s friends: ‘ What are you looking at?’
The court heard that a fight broke out between the complainer and the accused, after the complainer pushed Taylor. The grapple led to Taylor being ejected from the pub.
It was what occurred after the initial confrontation that led to the nurse’s face being punched and left him suffering from a broken cheekbone, it was alleged.
The jury heard that moments after the initial brawl, the complainer thought Taylor had cornered his friend in the toilet and went over to make sure he was okay. This is when Taylor is alleged to have punched the complainer, breaking his cheekbone, which caused him to lose feeling in the left side of his face for three months and have a metal plate fitted.
But a series of inconsistencies in evidence given by two witnesses, led defence solicitor Gerard Sweeney to question whether his client had been ‘sandwiched’ by the two gentlemen and provoked by the complainer punching Taylor on the back on the head.
The only defence witness in the case was a friend of Taylor’s, who had been out on the same evening, but with a separate group.
He supported Mr Sweeney’s explanation and said he saw the complainer follow Taylor into the toilet and punch him on the back of the head as he stood facing away from the complainer.
Taylor, apprentice welder and rugby player denies the charge and lodged a special plea of self- defence ahead of his trial.
On Tuesday evening, all evidence in the case had been heard and the trial was due to continue on Wednesday afternoon. A verdict was due to be heard as the Oban Times went to press.