A verdict in the assault trial of an infamous Queenstown bouncer is expected later today.
Queenstown bouncer Jonathan Dixon has vehemently denied causing Queenstown man Jordan Sinke to fall and crack his head on the concrete floor of a local nightclub last year.
Dixon, 42, pleading not guilty to two charges after an incident in Queenstown’s Subculture bar on January 21, is on trial in the Invercargill District Court before Judge Kevin Phillips and a jury of eight women and four men.
Dixon faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard, and assaulting Sinke’s mate Thomas Ian Beatson.
On day one of the trial, Dixon fired his lawyer and is representing himself. Dixon shot to prominence during the Rugby World Cup 2011 when he released security camera footage to YouTube of England rugby player Mike Tindall cavorting with an ex-girlfriend in a Queenstown bar, weeks after he married royal Zara Phillips.
In court this week, no witnesses have said they saw Sinke fall to the floor, but several said they heard two loud “cracks” or “thuds” as his head hit the floor, and turned around to see Dixon standing near him or over him.
Sinke ended up with a fractured skull, a bruised brain and blood on the brain and has continuing effects.
Dixon, the only witness for his defence, completed his evidence yesterday saying he was “playing with his phone” in Subculture bar about 2.30am when he heard someone making abusive comments.
Dixon said it wasn’t until he heard the man, whom he found out later was Sinke, say “Tindall” that he realised the abuse was directed at him.
Dixon said he tried to ignore Sinke but Sinke “threw a punch” which landed on the right of his chest. Sinke threw another punch which missed.
Dixon pinned Sinke’s arms to his sides and stood on his foot because Sinke tried to knee him in the groin.
“He kept telling me to let him go and I kept saying `Are we cool? Are you cool?’ He said he was, but I knew he wasn’t. He was … drunk, really hyped up and breathing heavily.”
Dixon said Sinke also told him he was with friends who didn’t like Dixon either.
Dixon said he let Sinke go and turned to walk to another part of the bar. Dixon then felt something on the back of his foot and turned to see Sinke lying flat on the floor on his back, unconscious.
Dixon tried to help him by checking his airways and his breathing. With the help of a girl, he rolled Sinke into the recovery position.
People were trying to move Sinke, but Dixon said he knew Sinke should not be moved in case of spinal injuries.
When he sawBeatson, a friend of Sinke’s, reach for Sinke’s hand he thought he was going to try and move him and “shoved him hard” in the face, knocking Beatson backwards.
After that, Dixon said he was “punched and pushed and hit” by people in the bar. Someone hit him in the head, probably with their knee, and he also had a drink thrown in his face or someone spat in his face.
A staff member told him he should leave, and he did. Crown counsel Mary-Jane Thomas spent some time asking Dixon why he had turned his back on a man who was taunting him and who had already thrown a punch. She suggested a normal person’s reaction would be to punch back, or push their agressor away. Dixon denied he had done that.
Dixon said 20 years “working the doors” as a bouncer had taught him that often it was alcohol which caused people to do “irrational things” and that it was usually better to ignore abuse.
Thomas suggested Dixon could have put his hands on Sinke’s shoulders and walked him out the door of the bar.
Dixon said he did not want to do that because he thought he might be attacked by Sinke’s friends.
Thomas: “But after you restrained him and turned away, he fell over and hit his head.
Dixon: “After I restrained him and released him and turned away he fell over.”
Thomas asked Dixon if he was sure he had not pushed or shoved Sinke and caused him to fall.
“I am sure I didin’t give him a shove or a punch or a push or a slap or a bite or anything,” Dixon replied.
Police investigated Sinke’s injuries as a possible assault and appealed for witnesses. To Thomas, Dixon said he’d not seen the appeals and did not go to the police with information. He was spoken to by officers six days later.
Thomas asked Dixon if he’d thought about going to the police to report being assaulted by people in the bar.
“No, I didn’t. Who would do that?” he replied.
The closing arguments and judge’s summing up will take place this morning before the jury considers its verdicts.
– Otago Daily Times