Accused contradicts witnesses
JOHNAS TODD strode into the maelstrom of violence at Uki’s Mount Warning Hotel looking for answers.
Todd, 26, of Uki, told Lismore District Court yesterday that on the night of July 27, 2007, he was thrown heavily from the pub by the hotel’s then owner Alex Georgopoulos and then attacked by an unknown person.
Todd’s ejection from the pub followed a fight between security guards and another man, in which Todd is accused of intervening by putting one of the guards in a headlock.
Todd is accused of later attacking Mr Georgopoulos with a broken bottle, leaving big cuts across his neck and chest. He is on trial in the District Court, fighting a charge of maliciously wounding the publican with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Todd’s evidence starkly contradicted that of five prosecution witnesses. Where two witnesses said they saw Todd stoop and smash a bottle before rising with its broken neck in his hand, Todd said he bent to spit out drink to rinse blood out of his mouth, left by injuries from the attack on him, before smashing the bottle on the road.
Where prosecution witnesses said Todd returned to the veranda in such a rage that security guards, fearing they would be stabbed by a broken bottle, fled inside, Todd told the court he was simply looking for answers.
“I wanted to see Alex and say ‘what’s going on?’ I didn’t do anything wrong. I shouldn’t have intervened in the first thing (the fight), but that didn’t warrant me getting beaten up,” Todd told the court.
And where prosecution witnesses had said there were a few people sitting at tables on the veranda, Todd described a scene of chaos.
“There were people everywhere,” Todd said. “There was people standing on the tables, fighting people, kicking stuff off the tables. One of the bar staff was in a fight with one of the guys.”
Todd said he was deeply upset at the time and stepped on to the veranda to look through the window into the bar, raising his arms and yelling at the people inside before turning away. “I turned and took a couple of steps and Alex was right in front of me,” Todd said.
Again, contradicting earlier prosecution evidence that he had rushed Mr Georgopoulos, Todd told the court the publican made the first move, grabbing him by the shoulders.
The pair wrestled back and forth, jostled by the crowd around them, before falling to the ground.
“We were like fish out of water, flapping around on the ground,” Todd said. “I was pushing on him trying to get up and I was knocked back down again. It was crazy, just crazy. People were kicking and punching (us) and we were just rolling around on the ground.”
When the pair was separated Todd had a bad gash on his elbow and his brother, who had just arrived, shepherded him and his little brother into a car and drove them home. Todd said he had no idea Mr Georgopoulos had been injured until he was contacted by police days later.
Todd is expected to be cross-examined this morning.