Belfast Telegraph

Teacher cleared of biting off doorman's finger

A Belfast grammar school teacher was yesterday cleared of biting off part of a pub doorman's finger during a brawl outside a bar.

It took the Belfast Crown Court jury less than an hour to unanimously acquit 45-year-old Tony Austin of causing the doorman grievous bodily harm.

The St Mary's Grammar School teacher, from Garnock Hill, had always denied attacking doorman Patrick McDonnell outside McEnaney's Bar on the Glen Road in west Belfast on July 22, 2007.

Following his acquittal Mr Austin said he “just wants to thank the jury for their ‘not guilty’ verdict”.

By their verdict the jury have accepted Mr Austin's claims that he was never involved in any attack on the the doorman after a group of men were ejected from the public house.

They have also rejected allegation by Mr McDonnell that it was the school teacher who had “snapped” at him as he went to the aid of another doorman.

Mr McDonnell had claimed that Mr Austin, whom he'd known for 15 years after coaching him in GAA, had been facing him when he “snapped” at him up to three times before one of the bites took off the top part of his little finger of his left hand.

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