A former Blenheim bar manager has admitted a charge of manslaughter over the death of a man who was forcibly ejected from his bar.
Kevin King, 52, pleaded guilty after a new indictment was put before a jury in a re-trial in the High Court at Wellington today.
Defence council Greg King said the original indictment had alleged King caused the death of Matthew Heagney, 24, through an assault in the early hours of August 23, 2009.
It was now accepted that he was lawfully entitled to remove Heagney from the premises and in doing so he did not commit any criminal assault.
The basis of the new charge related to the circumstances of how King released Heagney once he was outside the premises. In the course of Heagney being released, he fell and suffered fatal injuries.
"This was obviously unintended and unforeseen," Greg King said.
The Crown alleged King put Heagney in a headlock which left him semi-conscious and unable to break his fall when he was dropped.
Marlborough District Council closed circuit television footage shows Heagney being taken outside Shapeshifters Bar in Blenheim about 2.50am.
Today Cameron Wright-Munro, who was on the bar door, said he had pursued Heagney up some stairs after Heagney pushed his way into the bar when it had been closed to new customers.
Cross-examined by defence counsel Greg King, Wright-Munro agreed he had made it clear to Heagney he was not allowed into the bar.
After pursuing Heagney up the stairs he had lost sight of him in the crowd of people still in the bar.
Wright-Munro said he had been back at the door when Heagney returned from the bar.
He had grabbed Heagney on the shoulder, intending to bar him from the premises.
Heagney's immediate reaction had been to retaliate, to turn around and try to grab him, Wright-Munro said.
He agreed with Greg King that Heagney had pulled his hand back as if to line him up for a big hit.
Wright-Munro said he had not been hit because the defendant intervened.
He agreed that King had come up behind Heagney, grabbed him with one arm and pulled him backwards.
He also agreed that he had tried to get Heagney's arms behind his back, and agreed Heagney had been resisting and his arms had been flailing around.
His attempt to grab Heagney's arms had been unsuccessful, so he went to grab his legs.
From other evidence given to the court, it appeared he had released his hold on Heagney just in the entrance to the premises, before Heagney was taken outside.
The incident happened very quickly, Wright-Munro said.
He agreed with Greg King that Heagney had still been resisting at the time he let go of his legs.
Re-examining Wright-Munro, prosecutor Mark O'Donoghue asked whether he was sure Heagney's arms were still flailing around when he picked up his legs. Wright-Munro said he was not 100 per cent sure.
He confirmed he put an arm around Heagney's legs at one stage, but was unsure whether he managed to lift them off the ground.
At a training session he went to for the job at the bar there had been discussion about the dangers of using head holds, Wright-Munro said. He could not remember anything being said about putting someone in the recovery positions after a head hold was used.
He agreed with Greg King that during the training session it had been emphasised that trouble should be removed from the premises as quickly as possible, and that bar staff should not stick around outside once someone had been removed.
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