Accused found not guilty of breaking man's jaw
THOMAS Procter may have sustained a broken jaw via an uppercut punch, but it was not Thomas Houra who delivered it.
A verdict of not guilty was delivered to Mr Houra at Gladstone District Court on Monday.
Fronting court to answer one charge of grievous bodily harm, Mr Houra excused himself from the court to reflect on what had been a tumultuous two years.
Mr Procter claimed that on April 21, 2012, a party of three was drinking at The Grand Hotel on Goondoon St before a spilled drink led to a broken jaw.
The injury led to surgery, at a cost of $7000, on Mr Procter.
The surgery included the insertion of three plates and 12 screws into his jaw.
Allegations made against Mr Houra were rejected on Monday, after a jury of eight men and four women deliberated for more than five hours before returning a verdict.
Court proceedings had lasted four days, after starting on Wednesday last week.
The evidence placed before the jury consisted of an interview tape recording, a photo board, opposing testimony from the defendant and the victim, and two crown witnesses.
While the evidence did prove Mr Procter could correctly identify Mr Houra, it proved little else.
Defence lawyer Jordan Ahlstrand contested the prosecution's case by stating on Friday that the hearing evidence was largely "word against word".
The allegations, which have taken more than two years to be heard, were a source of uneasiness for Mr Houra.
Mr Houra told The Observer after the verdict that his relief was overwhelming.
"I'm just so relieved," he said. "I can finally put this behind me and move on with my life."
Mr Houra said he would celebrate the verdict with a good night's sleep.