Man left unconscious after arranged bare-chested Belfast street fight

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A man with brain damage was rendered unconscious and then beaten about the head after meeting for a bare-chested fight in north Belfast, the High Court has heard.

The alleged victim sustained multiple facial fractures from a dozen punches and kicks inflicted during the clash with Anthony Wilson earlier this month, a judge was told.

Prosecutors also claimed 25-year-old Wilson later warned the man’s sister on social media: “Next time I won’t stop, it will be worse.”

But the accused’s lawyer insisted he acted in self-defence amid threats of being killed in front of his children.

Wilson, of Duncairn Gardens in the city, was granted bail on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

According to Crown lawyer Laura Ievers the two men agreed to meet on September 7 for a “fair digs” fight at the junction between the Antrim Road and Hillman Street.

CCTV footage shows the pair at the scene, bare-chested and initially exchanging blows.

Ms Ievers claimed Wilson then put his opponent in a choke-hold, rendering him unconscious before punching and kicking him 12 times to the head.

The alleged victim suffered fractures to both eye sockets, cheek bones and his jaw, as well as requiring 11 stitches, the court heard.

It was revealed that he had previously sustained brain damage due to an unrelated stabbing incident when he was 13.

Hours after this month’s clash, Wilson allegedly contacted the man’s sister through Facebook messenger to say he would be “ready, anytime, anywhere” for a further encounter.

During police interviews the accused accepted involvement in an arranged fight, claiming he agreed to meet after being threatened.

He told officers his opponent appeared to have something in his hand, while those accompanying the other man had brought a hammer and knife with them.

Ms Ievers continued: “He said he had no regrets, ‘it was him or me’.”

Defence counsel Joe Brolly argued that the injured party is a “very dangerous and unpredictable man”.

The barrister said his client panicked and agreed to the fight at short notice after being informed of the alleged consequences from a refusal.

Mr Brolly contended: “(The alleged victim) said ‘If you don’t meet me now I will be down in five minutes and I will kill you in front of your kids’.”

He claimed the other man immediately ran towards him, carrying a suspected knife.

“This applicant believed if he was overpowered he was going to be stabbed and killed on the ground,” counsel said.

“After he was struck and struck back he got the better of him. He accepts to struck (the other man) several blows while he was on th ground and then removed himself from the fight.”

Mr Brolly insisted the accused had acted amid a rush of adrenaline to make sure the alleged victim was incapacitated.

Granting bail, Judge Patrick Kinney banned Wilson from any contact with the injured party or his family. ends