Lo­cal rugby player ac­cused of as­sault­ing nurse in pub brawl

The Oban Times - - News - AMANDA CRAW­FORD fort@oban­times.co.uk

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.

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