A BUSINESSMAN has been cleared of a nightclub glassing after a judge was told the victim’s injuries may have been caused accidentally.
Knaphill resident Paul Fisher, 34, was found not guilty on the directions of Judge Phillip Wassall, who ruled the jury could not be sure his actions were deliberate.
Victim Mario Montinari suffered a fractured cheekbone, cuts to his face, and was left with a piece of glass embedded in his neck after the incident in 2012.
A bystander had said his blood-covered face looked like something from a horror movie.
He had been hit by the glass as Mr Fisher was pushing through a crowded bar at Café Mambo on Torquay seafront.
Mr Fisher denied the assault throughout the case, which was not caught on CCTV even though the club’s system covers much of the rest of the building.
He was cleared after his Barrister Terry Holder submitted there was no case to answer.
He said both the victim and a witness standing nearby described a sweeping motion with the hand which was holding the glass, but this could have been an accidental side-effect of Mr Fisher pushing his way through the crowd. Mr Fisher denied the charge of wounding and was found not guilty.
Mr Fisher is a businessman who has a history of running clubs of his own, notably in Woking. He was in Torquay looking to set up a new branch of the Bed Bar and was staying at a hotel near the club.
The prosecution alleged he had smashed the glass into Mr Montinari’s face as a deliberate act after pushing another man away and approaching him at the bar.
CCTV extracts were played to the jury which showed Fisher going up to the first floor of the club and into an area with a bar and a dance floor.
It went on to show him walking away through the club at speed after the incident and getting into a taxi. Throughout he is wearing a light blue shirt.
In the early footage he has a glass in one hand and a light blue top in the other, but he is no longer holding the glass when he leaves.
He was arrested at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay after police traced him through the taxi which took him from the club. He was still wearing the same blood-stained shirt seen on the CCTV.
Fisher made no comment in police interviews, but his lawyer Mr Holder told the court there was no evidence on which a jury could reasonably conclude he had intended the blow which caused the injuries.