Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Vinnie Jones cleared of US bar assault

Actor and former footballer Vinnie Jones was today found not guilty of assaulting a man during a bar brawl in South Dakota.

The former Wimbledon and Wales hard man had been accused of hitting Juan Trevino-Barrera three times in the head during what prosecutors alleged was an unprovoked attack last December.

But during a one-day trial, Mr Jones, 44, successfully argued that he was acting out of self defence, having earlier been struck in the face with a beer glass by one of Mr Trevino-Barrera's friends.

The incident took place on December 4. Jones had travelled to Sioux Falls from his LA base to hunt pheasants with friends.

The Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels actor went to Wiley's Tavern with the hunting party on the night of his arrival.

A court heard Jones approached two men at a pool table and asked to join in a game.

After being rebutted, a third man approached and started arguing with the former footballer over an LA Dodgers hat Jones was wearing.

The confrontation escalated with one of the men spitting on Jones and another hitting him in the face with a beer mug.

The former footballer told the court he wanted to leave, but the bar manager walked him to toilets to clean up his cuts. As he did so, Jones encountered Mr Trevino-Barrera in the hallway and was asked: "Have you had enough old man?"

The 44-year-old said he was convinced Mr Trevino-Barrera was going to hit him with a glass he was holding in his left hand and it was at this point that he lunged out.

Jones said he was "driven by fear" and was acting in self defence.

Following the fight, the Los Angeles-based star was taken to hospital, where he received 70 stitches. His nose was "hanging off" after the glass attack, the court heard.

After being treated for his injuries, Jones was arrested and charged with three counts of assault. If convicted, the actor could have faced a maximum prison sentence of one year.

Under questioning in court, Mr Trevino-Barrera said he had signed a contract to sell his story to a tabloid newspaper.

It took jurors two hours to find Jones not guilty of all charges.

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