Court hears man’s self-defence claim

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A STOWMARKET carpenter told a jury he lashed out at a man in a nightclub in self defence because he feared he was about to be attacked.

Adam Ward, 26, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm after an incident in Jokers Nightclub, in Stowmarket, on December 19, last year.

But at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, the trial was halted and the jury discharged after the court ran out of time to hear the case. A hearing will be held on September 13 when the Crown Prosecution Service will determine whether to apply for a retrial.

Giving evidence during the trial, Ward said he had found himself in a threatening situation resulting in him being punched and that he recalled aiming one punch at Stephen Murphy to fend him off. He accepted that the nightclub’s CCTV recording showed him repeatedly punching someone who was out of range of the camera.

Ward told the court he was ‘quite scared’ of stab threats he alleged Mr Murphy had made to him and his friends after he had intervened to defuse a potentially hostile situation between Mr Murphy and one of his friends.

He said: “I was concerned that he was about to attack me. Considering the threats he had made I was quite scared. I thought I would react first.”

The court heard how Mr Murphy was led from the club by door staff after the incident, but Ward was allowed to stay after bouncers heard his version of events.

Ward had been at a party in Bacton before arriving at Jokers. He said that although he had been drinking he had not considered himself to be drunk.

Earlier in the trial Mr Murphy said he had been the victim of an unprovoked attack which left him with facial injuries and broken teeth. He said he had been struck on the back of the head while standing at the bar and was then repeatedly punched in the face.