Not proven verdict after fight in pub
A FORT William man has been cleared of severe assault following a three-day sheriff and jury trial.
Conor Taylor, of Lanark Place, said he was acting in self defence following a pub fight in the town last year, when another man was left with a fractured cheek and had to have a metal plate fitted under his eye socket.
His self defence claim was accepted by the jury of 15 men and women at Fort William sheriff court last Wednesday, who returned a not proven verdict by a majority.
The court heard that the 20-year-old repeatedly punched a psychiatric nurse in the face. The complainer was visiting the area with his friends and had been drinking in the Crofter bar on High street, on February 28 last year, when the incident took place.
The jury and sheriff Ian Anderson heard during evidence the pair had been involved in a previous incident before meeting again in the hallway between the bar area and men’s toilets. This is where the second fight happened and Taylor punched the complainer, fracturing his cheekbone.
Taylor’s defence solicitor, Gerard Sweeney, said he had acted in self defence as he felt threatened by the complainer and his friend who ‘sandwiched him’ in the tight space.
He added: ‘He [Taylor] felt threatened because he found himself sandwiched between two men. He protected himself from danger by striking first. That is not assault, that is self defence.’
But procurator fiscal, Michelle Molley called the welder ‘aggressive, violent and threatening’.
She told the jury: ‘You heard during evidence that Conor Taylor was thrown out of the pub but he appeared back. Why would he do that unless he was looking for a fight? The two other men didn’t follow him outside for a fight, they got on with their night until Taylor arrived back in the pub. It was not self defence because the threat of danger was removed when he left the pub, yet he chose to go back inside and repeatedly punch someone.’
The jury returned the not proven verdict after an hour of deliberations.