Not proven ver­dict af­ter fight in pub

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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