David Haye: assault case explained as ex-boxer cleared by court - what happened and what did the judge rule?

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Haye was accused of assaulting Nickesh Jhala on 30 October 2021

Former boxing champion David Haye has been cleared of assault after a judge ruled he had no case to answer.

Mr 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.

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David Haye looks on during the Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor Press Conference in the lead up to the WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final at Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel on September 09, 2019 in London, England.David Haye looks on during the Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor Press Conference in the lead up to the WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final at Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel on September 09, 2019 in London, England.
David Haye looks on during the Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor Press Conference in the lead up to the WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final at Park Plaza London Riverbank Hotel on September 09, 2019 in London, England. | Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 4 October. The case had been due to last two days but was cut short after the bench cleared Mr 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 in which he 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.

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What was said in court?

James Scobie KC, defending, said that Mr Haye never put his hands around Mr Jhala’s throat and he did not threaten to kill him.

He told the court: “Our unequivocal case is ‘hand on shoulder’, at most, and no threats to kill, ever.”

Instead, he said his client had warned Mr Jhala to stop talking about him and his girlfriend or he would have him thrown out.

Jonathan Bryan, prosecuting, told the court that the alleged assault occurred during the interval at Paul Chowdhry’s comedy gig at the venue.

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Mr Jhala, his girlfriend and his cousin were sitting behind Haye and his girlfriend.

Mr Bryan said: “It seems that Mr Haye believed that some of the people sitting behind him were saying derogatory remarks about him and his partner.

“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”

He told the court that Mr Jhala was not hurt by the incident but he was left “shaken” by it.

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What did the judge rule? 

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.

He said: “I’m very happy, very pleased, I’m just thankful that venues have CCTV, as we had four witnesses saying things that weren’t shown on CCTV because if not, I would have been convicted of strangling someone, and that didn’t happen.

“Obviously when something is out of your hands it’s the court’s decision on what they see, for all they know they could have listened to the witnesses and take the victim’s word on it.

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“I’m glad I don’t have to come back tomorrow. James [Scobie] made sure the court heard exactly what happened and I’m all upward, I move forward, now park this, and hope not to come back to court again.”

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