Fatal brawl accused's self defence argument a lie, prosecutor claims (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Teddington fatal brawl accused's self defence argument a lie, prosecutor claims
A group of seven men being tried for their alleged parts in a fight that ended in the death of their friend had a culture of not reporting violence between themselves, a court heard.
During cross examination of Mr Conway, prosecutor Bobbie Cheema suggested he saw another friend, Inigo Anderson, punch Mr Lawless earlier in the evening, but told police he had not to protect Mr Anderson.
Ms Cheema told the court Inigo Anderson had previous convictions for violence and became friends with Mr Conway after meeting him through a mutual college friend.
She said: “I suggest you are not telling the truth about this and you did see Inigo Anderson hit Patrick Lawless.
“There was a concern in your mind because Inigo Anderson is not someone to be messed with. You knew there was a potential piece of trouble there."
Ms Cheema asked Mr Conway why he had not got Mr Lawless a taxi home or medical assistance after he was punched by Mr Anderson.
She said: “Wouldn’t that be the most natural thing in the world to do if you find your friend like that?”
Mr Conway told the court he thought about calling for help but no one else mentioned it and he did not want to get Mr Lawless in trouble, because he was on a suspended sentence.
He said: “I wish I called a cab many times that night and I regret not doing that.”
Ms Cheema said: “The truth is Inigo Anderson is someone who would get in trouble if you called the police.
“There is a culture amongst you and your friends isn't there of not complaining when there is violence between you.”
Ms Cheema suggested it was Mr Conway who led Mr Lawless away from the group in Field Lane after he spat in his girlfriend’s face.
She said: “He had spat in your girlfriend’s face, you believe deliberately. He refused to apologise. He had been rude and aggressive and none of this makes you angry?
“It’s a lie isn’t it? You are not somebody who has difficulty getting angry are you?
"You had had alcohol and cocaine that night and the provocation from Patrick Lawless worked you up into a rage.”
Mr Conway told the court he was not angry and rebuked Ms Cheema’s claim that Mr Conway punched Mr Lawless first and that their friends would have seen if Mr Lawless punched first.
He admitted to the court that he changed from his initial statement, that Mr Lawless punched him twice and continued to lash out, to Mr Lawless punching him once, and had swung again.
Ms Cheema said: “How can you convert one punch then one swing that doesn’t connect to two punches and continuing to lash out?”
Mr Conway said: “At that point it was a bit of a blur to me. I was doing my best to remember what happened.”
The court heard Mr Conway suffered a broken finger when he punched Mr Lawless and that his father was a former detective sergeant in the police and was now a civilian staff member. The jury also saw video footage of Mr Conway involved in a fight on the Tube four years ago, in which Ms Cheema suggested he head-butted a man, punched his friend and then attacked another man.
Ms Cheema said: “You are quite handy with your fists. You quite like having fights.
“When you are angry I suggest you are quite able to hit a friend without any violence from that friend.”
In re-examination Mr Conway said the suggestion he had a tendency to hit his friends was a “complete fabrication” and hitting his friend in the Tube fight was an accident.
Ms Cheema suggested to Mr Conway he had many reasons to hit Mr Lawless that night.
She said: “I suggest Patrick Lawless, who had provoked you, had behaved abominably and appallingly but had not shown any violence, you punched him because you were provoked and angry and in a rage.
“I am going to suggest that your self defence defence is a lie.”
The trial continues.