A trained boxer who punched a man outside a Perth nightclub, leaving him with catastrophic brain injuries, has been cleared of grievous bodily harm.
Connor Pestell punched Mitch Cleary twice outside Ginger Nightclub in March last year, causing the 24-year-old to fall and hit his head on the road.
A District Court jury deliberated for 2½ hours last night before finding Pestell not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm. He was fined $1500 for assaulting Deniz Varol. Pestell hit Mr Varol shortly before he punched Mr Cleary.
The jury was told Mr Varol suffered a cut lip when he was assaulted by Pestell after Mr Varol started arguing with one of Pestell's friends.
Pestell was then approached by Mr Cleary, who was heavily intoxicated and wanted to know why his friend had been punched.
The former building worker fell to the ground after Pestell threw two quick punches at him. Defence lawyer Con Heliotis argued Pestell felt threatened by the pair and acted in self-defence.
He told the jury Mr Varol's behaviour was the catalyst for what happened on the night.
Judge Philip Eaton told Pestell he could have dealt with Mr Varol in other ways.
"It is not the case that it is not a serious offence - it is a serious offence," he said. "I am sure there are lessons to be learnt from the events of that night.
"It is all terribly unfortunate that it happened at all."
Prosecutor Belinda Lonsdale described the fight as an unacceptable display of violence.
She said Mr Cleary and Mr Varol might have been drunk but they did not deserve to be physically assaulted.
In July last year, Mr Cleary's family told The West Australian their son faced spending the rest of his life in a nursing home.
They declined to comment as they left the court yesterday.