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Court Hearings (In Favor of Bouncers)

 
Bouncer relieved after Hookes acquittal
 
Former bouncer Zdravko Micevic feels like a million dollars after being acquitted of killing former Test cricketer David Hookes. 
 
Mr Micevic offered his condolences to Hookes's family on the steps of the court, saying he would always remember the night the cricketer died. 
 
He also said he was relieved after the jury found him not guilty in the manslaughter trial, admitting the possibility of jail was always at the back of his mind.
"I'm glad it's all over; I can get on with my life," he told reporters.
 
The 23-year-old, who now works as a concreter, admitted punching the Victorian cricket coach after ejecting him from a St Kilda hotel on January 18 last year.
But he said the blow that felled Hookes - who died of head injuries the following day - was in self defence.
 
Mr Micevic, who said he would not return to work as a bouncer, said he planned to go on holiday now the case was over.
"I feel like a million bucks, to tell you the truth ...," he told A Current Affair, adding that he did not care if some people still thought he was guilty.
 
I know what the truth is; I'm just glad we got the right verdict," he said.
 
At the time of the incident, Mr Micevic was working at the Beaconsfield Hotel in bayside St Kilda, where Hookes - the Victorian cricket coach - and friends had been celebrating a win over South Australia at the MCG.
 
During the trial the jury was told Hookes became angry and abusive when Micevic asked members of his group to finish drinking and leave the hotel.
 
On the street outside, tension flared between the cricketing group and security guards with much shoving and swearing before the fatal punch was thrown, the court heard.
 
The prosecution argued Mr Micevic had targeted Hookes because he was angry with him. Micevic said he was not angry, but feared for his safety when Hookes punched him twice and tried to drag him to the ground.
 
Monday's verdict came after a 13-day trial before Justice Philip Cummins in the Victorian Supreme Court.
 
A six-man, six-woman jury returned at 5.45pm (AEST) on Monday after five days of deliberation.
 
Hookes's brother Terry Cranage thanked the police, prosecutors and the judge, but slammed the verdict.
 
Speaking on behalf of his family, Mr Cranage said: "Families have suffered immeasurably. We are bitterly disappointed at the verdict, obviously."
 
A South Australian Cricket Association spokeswoman late Monday night said the cricketers wanted to put Mr Hookes's death behind them.
 
Corporate Communications manager Jane Elliott told AAP SA cricket coach Wayne Phillips and former Australian Test cricketer Darren Lehmann, who gave evidence in Mr Micevic's trial, did not want to comment on the verdict.
 
"I'm sure you can understand they are both just wanting to move on now," she said.
 
A relative of Christine Padfield, Mr Hookes's girlfriend for almost two years, said Ms Padfield also did not want to speak to the media.
 
Meanwhile, a civil damages claim against Mr Micevic by Hookes' widow is still before the courts, Victorian media reported.
 
Robyn Hookes filed a suit in the Victorian Supreme Court in December against Mr Micevic, the owners of the Beaconsfield Hotel and the security firm Mr Micevic worked for, alleging they breached their duty of care to her husband.
 
Meanwhile, a lawyer says he hopes a civil court action against a former bouncer over the death of David Hookes will give some solace to the Test cricketer's widow.
 
Mr Hookes' widow Robyn is suing Mr Micevic and the hotel owners who employed him in a civil case before the Victorian Supreme Court.
 
Robyn Hookes' lawyer Eugene Arocca said he hoped the civil justice system would succeed where the criminal system failed.
 
"Most people equate justice with seeing what the criminal system does," he told ABC radio.
 
"The criminal system has spoken and to that degree she has to, I would hope, ultimately accept that it's done its bit.
 
"We now have to rely on the civil system to give her some solace in the outcome of that case."
 
Mrs Hookes filed the suit in December against Mr Micevic, the owners of the Beaconsfield Hotel and the security firm Mr Micevic worked for, alleging they breached their duty of care to her husband.
 
She is seeking damages cover the income loss to her husband.
 
"In some regards you could almost equate it to the OJ Simpson case where criminally they were not able to convict Mr Simpson but civilly they were able to get damages out of him for what happened," Mr Arocca said.

 

 

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