Retrial after jury fail to reach verdict in GBH case

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Staff reporter

A JUDGE has ordered a retrial in the case of a doorman accused of punching a man and knocking him unconscious on a street.

Philip Hughes, 39, denies inflicting grievous bodily harm upon Andrew Boyd Smith, 37, of Blacon, Chester in the early hours of April 11.

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, ordered the retrial when a jury of nine women and three men failed to reach a verdict after a two-day trial at Chester Crown Court.

The court was told Mr Smith, deputy manager of a city bookmaker’s, suffered a fracture to his fourth vertebrae and was left needing a head, neck and body brace for three-and-a-half months as a result of a single blow landed by Hughes.

Hughes, of Upper Aston Hall Lane, Hawarden, claimed he acted in self-defence when he struck Mr Smith, claiming Mr Smith had threatened to stab him – a claim denied by the complainant – following an exchange of words between both men outside of Jack’s Chip Shop in Frodsham Street.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident ,which happened shortly after
midnight. The video evidence showed both men outside the chip shop, the alleged exchange, and the punch delivered by Hughes on Mr Smith at about 12.15am.

Prior to the incident, Mr Smith had finished a busy day’s trading on Grand National day before leaving work with several colleagues to go for drinks at the Temple Bar in Frodsham Street.

Hughes had been on an evening out with his brother, Gary, before meeting up with Gary’s wife, Zoe, at the end of the night. Defence barrister Peter Moss told the court Mr Smith had allegedly got involved in a conversation between Hughes, his brother and his sister-in-law and then threatened to stab Hughes outside the chip shop.

Hughes, who is Security Industry Authority trained and approved and has worked as a doorman for 22 years, said he was in fear of his own and his family’s safety and felt under threat. He then punched Mr Smith.

Hughes told the court: “I was feeling threatened. I and my family were vulnerable. That is when I reacted.

“I was not going to give him the chance to do it, so that is when I struck him.

“Smith was an aggressive guy. You see it all the time as a doorman. His tone and demeanour changed. Normally I can ignore it but when he threatens me, I have to react.”

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