Defence Closing Statement
Members of the Jury, you have now heard all of the evidence in this case which I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of. My client , Mr Chris Howells, is accused of ASSAULT OCCASIONING ACTUAL BODILY HARM contrary to section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The first witness you heard from today was one of two doorpersons at the Xplode night club, Billie Evans, who was present on the night of the 10th February 2012. This witness admitted to the court that s/he witnessed Howells assault Ashley Brown and that s/he responded immediately by tackling Howells to the ground while firmly holding his/her hands behind his/her back during ‘an almighty struggle’ while he/she waited for the police to arrive to the scene. It would be most simple to look no further into the other evidence in this case and to convict my client straight away, But it’s not as simple as that, is it, members of the jury? If everyone in this court room today were to sit down and analyse what we have heard during this trial then you may think that we start to get niggling doubts.
You may suspect, believe or are unsure that Mr/Miss Howells committed the alleged offence, but if that is in fact the case members of the jury, then you shall be obliged to acquit. Why? The Crown brings forth this case and it is for them to prove it, Mr/Mrs Howells need not prove anything at all, let alone his innocence. The Crown must satisfy you so that you are sure of his guilt; nothing less than sure will suffice. So if you find yourself saying ‘might’ or ‘possibly’ or even ‘probably’ when you retire to consider the evidence then you know what the appropriate verdict would be – not guilty.
There are three topics I would like to discuss with you which concern the evidence that the prosecution have put before you. Having heard the Statement of Mr/Miss Ashley Brown you may think that his account is incapable of making you sure that Mr/Miss Howells is guilty. First of all we heard that Mr/Miss Ashley Brown felt shocked and flabbergasted by the fact that s/he received verbal grief from a potentially intoxicated customer. You would be forgiven for thinking this was absurd. How could a bouncer not be capable of shrugging of a few mere insults when it is their job to put up with such things? Secondly, we were told that Mr/Miss Brown certainly didn’t expect to be punched in the face. You would be forgiven for thinking this was absurd.
How could a bouncer possibly expect that they would never come across anything as such in the whole of their career? Furthermore it may come to your attention that it could be seen to be suspicious that Mr Tony Grenfell, the manager and colleague of both Mr/Miss Ashley Brown and Mr/Miss Billie Evans was conveniently unable to provide the authority with CCTV footage of the incident as there was ‘a problem with their hard drive’. I ask you how you can you rule out the possibility that the colleagues of the nightclub are not with holding vital evidence that could prove my client not guilty? You may think that you cannot. So what are we left with Members of the Jury?
You may think that we are left with no evidence to prove my client assaulted anyone of the evening of the 10th February. A witness who did not expect to receive grief from a customer even though it is their job to do so. A witness who violently took my client to the ground and held him/her there in a struggle (throughout which they could of potentially but accidentally inflicted injury onto Ashley Brown.) All in all, you may think the evidence that Mr/Miss Howells assaulted Mr/Miss Brown is simply too weak to sustain the weight placed on it by the prosecution.
I would like to take this opportunity finally to remind you of the burden of proof. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. If they have succeeded to convince you so that you are absolutely sure that the defendant is guilty then you must convict. However, if there is any doubt in your mind as to whether the defendant committed this act of assault after hearing the evidence in court today, you must find him/her not guilty.