A 21-year-old man who delivered a fatal blow to another man outside a Cairns bar has been found not guilty of unlawful striking causing death by a Supreme Court jury.
- Timothy England was charged for punching Brett Thomson in the head outside the Pier Bar in July 2019
- A jury took less than an hour to return a verdict
- Victim’s mother says they “already lost” the trial before it began because “nothing will bring Brett back”
Apprentice electrician Timothy John England had pleaded not guilty in a Cairns court last week after he was charged for punching 32-year-old Brett Thomson in the head outside the Pier Bar in July 2019.
Mr Thomson died in hospital from head injuries several days after the attack.
A jury took less than an hour to find Mr England, a representative rugby union player, not guilty.
Outside court, Mr England, flanked by lawyers, did not say anything to the waiting media.
Mr Thomson’s mother, Nikki, told reporters outside court they had “already lost” the trial before it began because “nothing will bring Brett back”.
Argument outside a bar
The trial heard Mr England was out celebrating his 20th birthday with family and friends when he, Mr Thomson and a group of his friends became involved in an argument outside the bar just before 11:00pm.
The court heard Mr Thomson, who was heavily intoxicated, called Mr England’s sister Tayla England a “s***” and a “w****” as she walked past him.
Mr England’s friend Finn Devine-Cameron told Mr Thomson to stop calling Ms England names and Mr Thomson punched him, before Mr Devine-Cameron punched him back.
Security vision shown to the court then shows Mr England throw a single punch that connected with Mr Thomson’s head.
The vision shows Mr Thomson falling to the ground, where he was unconscious on his back.
Victim’s history of violence
A stream of Mr England’s supporters — including his former private school teacher and rugby union coach — gave evidence in court yesterday, describing him as “gentle”, “caring” and a “good kid”.
In court, Mr England’s barrister Tony Kimmins detailed the victim’s criminal past, saying Mr Thomson had a history of violence while intoxicated.
“On four separate occasions he seemingly with no or little provocation punched a stranger in the face, most times he was highly intoxicated,” Mr Kimmins told the court.
“On each of those occasions that he punched someone in the face, he was convicted of an offence before the police and punished.”
Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees told the jury it was not Mr Thomson on trial.
“It’s a punch that instantly knocked Brett out,” Mr Rees said.
“Brett was stumbling back — he was no threat — there can be no mistake about that.
“There was no reason why the accused should attack Brett.”