News

Jaw breaker who was abused, spat on, found not guilty

A FORMER security guard has walked free after fracturing the jaw of another bloke outside the Grand Hotel.

Paul Barry Smith, 33, was off-duty from his job when he punched out Adam Butler on July 15, 2010.

He appeared on Thursday in the Gladstone District Court, pleading not guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

Mr Smith, who had worked as muscle for musicians Shannon Noll and Jimmy Barnes, was having a drink with a mate at the Young Australian Hotel earlier in the day of the incident.

But things soon turned sour when Mr Butler, another punter at the pub, allegedly said he wanted to fight Smith, calling him a "f**king fa**ot".

Smith told the court he didn't want any confrontation, so he finished his drink and left.

He ended up at the Grand Hotel a short time later where he saw Butler arrive in a taxi with his partner Cindy Burnside, both 37 at the time.

The court heard the defendant and the couple were chest to chest as they exchanged heated words.

Butler allegedly spat on Smith who knocked him to the ground in response.

As Butler tried to get up, he threw another punch which Smith blocked before throwing another one back.

Smith yesterday told the court he reacted out of a fear of contracting hepatitis C from bodily fluids, including spit, due to the nature of his work.

"I was scared; I instantly freaked out," Mr Smith said.

The court saw CCTV footage of the incident.

Crown Prosecutor Susan Hedge argued that Smith's punches and block looked "hard, practised and professional".

Mr Smith told the court his first fight was probably with his teddy bears, the one and only time he punched a boxing bag was in high school and he had received no practical training to become a security guard.

Defence lawyer David Murray asked the jury to not judge Mr Smith by his shaved head, tattoos and earrings.

"You don't know anything about him," Mr Murray said.

"He responded just like you or I might respond. What would you do if you were spat on?"

Crown prosecutor Hedge said Mr Smith's reaction was disproportionate and unlawful, just like in State of Origin the night before when New South Wales player Paul Gallen took several swings at Queensland's Nate Myles.

The jury found Mr Smith not guilty.

Topics:  assault, gladstone, gladstone district court, grand hotel




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