A Belfast man accused of assaulting a doorman admitted punching the bouncer once but claimed he acted in self-defence, a court heard yesterday.
Christopher Bingham is standing trial at Belfast Crown Court on a charge of assaulting a doorman at the Limelight Bar, occasioning him actual bodily harm.
The doorman, who gave evidence at the trial, sustained a wound to his lip that required 11 stitches and which he said was the result of a single punch to the right side of his mouth.
He said that after refusing entry to a man in a group of around six people, he was struck once by another member of that party, namely Bingham.
The 28-year old accused, from Robina Court, has denied the charge on the grounds of self-defence.
From the witness box, the doorman denied suggestions that other door staff were the aggressors on the evening of August 26, 2017, after the jury heard three men in Bingham's company required hospital treatment in a further altercation with other door staff.
The jury were shown CCTV footage of the front of the Limelight, which shows revellers queuing to get into the venue, but not the incident itself.
Crown prosecutor Natalie Pinkerton told the court and jury that after he was struck by Bingham, the injured doorman was taken inside the venue. When he went back out a short time later, he saw the man who punched him being restrained by other door staff before police arrived.
Ms Pinkerton revealed that when arrested, Bingham told police: "I don't know what came over me." He also said he believed something was going to happen to one of the men in his party, so he struck out.
Giving evidence, the doorman confirmed that he had refused to let one of Bingham's party into the Limelight.
He said: "They didn't take too kindly to being refused entry.
"There was one guy in particular I was speaking to from the group who started being quite aggressive towards me and shouting at me. He was basically screaming and demanding why he had been refused entry.
"As I was explaining to this male why he was being refused entry, I remember being punched.
"I was struck to the right hand side of the mouth.
"I remember being quite dazed and confused, and there was a lot of blood coming from my mouth."
The doorman said that after sustaining the punch, he went back inside to get cleaned up, then went to the hospital for treatment.
Under cross-examination by Mark Farrell, the barrister representing Bingham, the doorman was told that three men in Bingham's party ended up seeking hospital treatment that night "because of assaults by door staff arising out of this incident".
Mr Farrell claimed that the group began to walk away when refused entry and that there had been no aggression with him or any other doorman.
The doorman replied by saying: "No, that's not correct."
When Mr Farrell claimed "they were attacked by door staff and they ended up in hospital", the doorman said: "No. I didn't see anything. I was inside."
Mr Farrell said it was Bingham's case that he struck out at the doorman "in the heat of the moment" as he was directing other door staff to attack members of his party, but this was also rejected by the doorman.
The trial continues.