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Tension before attack - court told

PUBLISHED: 16:20 15 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

THE friend of a man allegedly injured with a glass or bottle during a night-club row, told a court today how he had shrugged off an atmosphere of tension minutes before the alleged attack.

THE friend of a man allegedly injured with a glass or bottle during a night-club row, told a court today how he had shrugged off an atmosphere of tension minutes before the alleged attack.

Yassir Mirghani told the jury at Bury Crown Court that he first noticed Ipswich man Glodean O'Connor holding a bottle of champagne in his hands while he looked at him on the dance floor during a night out at the Sound Academy night-club in Ipswich.

Although O'Connor later barged him with his elbow, the court heard that Mr Mirghani, who was then working as a waiter at Venezia Restaurant in Ipswich, had told his friend Sami Elnile not to bother about it.

Later that night, on September 16, Mr Elnile was treated by an ambulance crew at the club after becoming the victim of an alleged attack, the jury was told.

Under close questioning from O'Connor's defence barrister, Johnathon Rose, Mr Mirghani admitted that he had drunk five shots of Vodka and cola and two pints of lager within an hour of arriving at the club, but he repeatedly denied he was drunk. He also denied that Mr Elnile was "being a bit lairy".

The court also heard that a cleaner had swept up and thrown away the broken glass in the toilets of the club before the police could examine it as evidence.

Earlier prosecution witness Orean Brown, an American serviceman based at Mildenhall, was in the toilets at the time of the attack.

He told the court that O'Connor was caught off guard in the toilets by Mr Elnile's questioning and that there was a scuffle.

"It was spontaneous and I could not say who was first to hit out. The guy with the bottle was trying to hit him (Elnile) with it. I saw the bottle swinging," he said.

Mr Rose told the court that it was the victim who had instigated the incident.

He said to Mr Brown: "This incident was started by the victim. It was aggressive wasn't it?"

Mr Rose asked: "O'Connor seemed surprised didn't he? Elnile deliberately turned round to confront O'Connor didn't he?"

"I guess it was a mutual thing," replied Mr Brown.

Mr Rose claimed that Mr Brown had his back to the victim during the fight and so could not see properly what Mr Elnile was hit with or the injuries sustained.

He added that Mr Elnile also kicked out at O'Connor during the incident. O'Connor denies wounding with intent.

The trial continues.

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