By Luke O'Reilly, PA
Former boxing champion David Haye has been cleared of assault after a judge ruled that he had no case to answer.
Haye, 41, had been accused of grabbing Nickesh Jhala by the throat and threatening to kill him at the Hammersmith Apollo on October 30 last year.
Haye appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday wearing a white shirt and a navy blazer.
The case had been due to last two days but was cut short after the bench cleared Haye at the halfway point of the trial.
The court had heard evidence from Mr Jhala, his cousin Vishal Vadher and his girlfriend Nina Nagar, as well as independent witness Rupal Karia.
CCTV footage from the venue was also played to the court, showing Mr Haye’s confrontation with Mr Jhala.
Mr Haye could be seen stepping out of his seat and leaning over Mr Jhala.
Despite the footage and the witnesses, the prosecution was unable to demonstrate that Mr Haye had grabbed Mr Jhala by the throat, or that he had threatened to kill him.
James Scobie KC, defending, said that his client’s case was that he never put his hands around Mr Jhala’s throat and he did not threaten to kill him.
“Our unequivocal case is ‘hand on shoulder’, at most, and no threats to kill, ever,” he said.
Instead, he said his client had warned Mr Jhala to stop talking about him and his girlfriend or he would have him thrown out.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring told the court that after hearing all of the prosecution’s evidence and reviewing the CCTV footage of the alleged assault, the bench was satisfied that “that there is no case to answer”.
Speaking to the press outside court immediately after the ruling, Mr Haye said he was “very happy” and “very pleased” with the result.
Earlier, Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, told the court that the alleged assault occurred during the interval at Paul Chowdhry’s comedy gig at the venue.
Mr Jhala, his girlfriend and his cousin were sitting behind Haye and his girlfriend.
“It seems that Mr Haye believed that some of the people sitting behind him were saying derogatory remarks about him and his partner,” Mr Bryan said.
“We say Mr Haye put his hands around Mr Jhala’s throat and threatened him, saying things to the effect that if Mr Jhala said anything more, he would kill him,” Mr Bryan added.
He told the court that Mr Jhala was not hurt by the incident but he was left “shaken” by it.