A SUPERMAC’S security guard who knocked a young man unconscious with a single punch was found not guilty of assault causing harm by a jury at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.
James Butler of Carrowkeel, Ballinrobe, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault causing harm to Christopher Gibbons outside Supermac’s restaurant on the Cornmarket, Ballinrobe on September 26, 2010.
Mr Butler told the court that he hit Mr Gibbons out of self-defence after he thought he was reaching for a weapon aftere he told Mr Butler he was going to kill him. The force of the punch knocked Mr Gibbons on the ground where he hit his head on the curb. CCTV footage of the incident was shown to the court.
The court was told that at approximately 2.30am Mr Gibbons had been thrown out of the restaurant for being loud and obstructive and while outside he made obscene hand gestures to Mr Butler who was working as the security guard. Mr Butler came outside to confront Mr Gibbons, and both men were ‘squaring’ up to each other before Mr Butler struck him with a single punch.
Mr Butler, a boxing coach and part-time security guard, told the court that he had told Mr Gibbons to leave the restaurant when he told him, ‘what are you doing working in a sh*thole like this...ya w***er’.
He claimed that Mr Gibbons was making obscene hand gestures to him through the window and he went went outside to him. He pushed Mr Gibbons over and he claimed that when he got up, Mr Gibbons said ‘I’m going to f***ing kill you’.
Mr Butler claimed that he tried to headbutt him and repeatedly threatened to kill him. He said he kept retreating and claimed Mr Gibbons reached for his pockets, at which point he decided to defend himself and he punched him.
“He was looking at me crazily and it looked like he had more than alcohol. It felt like that to me.
Under questioning from Mr James Dwyer, BL for the prosecution, Mr Butler denied that he had said ‘I don’t take shit from anyone’ after he had hit Mr Gibbons.
Mr Gibbons, from Ballindine, said he did not remember anything of the incident after he hit his head and only remembered waking up in the ambulance.
During their deliberation, the jury asked to review the CCTV footage of the incident and after just over two hours of deliberation they returned a not guilty verdict.