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'Not guilty' after self-defence plea

Date

Michael Inman

A man accused of bashing another man in a dispute over a former girlfriend has been acquitted after arguing he was defending himself.

But Dean Law still faces a charge of common assault relating to the incident in December.

An ACT Supreme Court jury on Wednesday acquitted the 29-year-old of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He was also found not guilty of an alternate count of inflicting actual bodily harm.

The case hinged on whether Mr Law's actions were consistent with self-defence or excessive.

There was no dispute Mr Law and the complainant, Justin Roffey, were both former lovers of the woman.

The court heard Mr Law went to a home in Wanniassa on December 14 to speak with the woman, who only three weeks earlier had ended their romance.

The woman instructed Mr Law to leave and went to re-enter the home via the front door and by the backyard but he blocked and grabbed her.

The court heard Mr Roffey, who had a child with the woman and was visiting at the time, came to her aid armed with a metal pole.

The men fought and Mr Law ended up pinning the complainant to the ground, repeatedly punching him in the head.

The woman tried to intervene before Mr Law stopped fighting and left in his car.

Both men received head wounds.

Both legal teams on Wednesday tendered images of the injuries sustained by the men during the fight.

The Crown said that Mr Roffey suffered fractures to his skull, face and ribs.

Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said Mr Roffey still endured pain, scarring and problems with his eyesight.

He said doctors treating the complainant had considered the injuries life-threatening and needing surgery.

The accused man's barrister told the jury that Mr Law had acted in self-defence.

Barrister James Lawton told the court of an incident in 2010 when Mr Roffey had smashed the windows of Mr Law's car after finding him in bed with the woman.

Mr Lawton said that Mr Roffey had struck the first blow of the fight and Mr Law had reacted accordingly.

The Crown argued Mr Law had been the aggressor and said the level of force was not necessary.

The jury took just 3½ hours to find Mr Law not guilty.

Justice John Burns continued his bail conditions until the common assault charge is heard at the ACT Magistrates Court.

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