Kane O’Meley, the Cessnock man accused of biting off another man’s ear in a wild brawl that lasted for almost half an hour at Charmhaven’s Northlakes Tavern in 2016, has been found not guilty by a jury of his peers.
Following a three day trial, which concluded on Thursday, August 16, the 12 members of the jury decreed that the prosecution’s case had not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that O’Meley was the culprit who bit off almost half of Rhys Greig’s ear during a wild brawl, described in court as “20 minutes of madness”, by local police who attended the incident.
O’Meley had already pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on a separate charge from the biting of Greig’s ear, reckless wounding, assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm for his actions during the brawl, but pleaded not guilty to the charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm relating to the biting of Mr Greig.
He was found not guilty of wounding Greig with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
During the trial, the court was told how the brawl broke out after a verbal altercation between two men degenerated into a physical confrontation between a number of people in the Tavern’s beer garden.
The court was told Greig became involved in the brawl after going to the aid of a friend’s father who had also become involved in the brawl.
Greig told the court that after suffering a blow to the head, he fell to the ground and assumed the foetal position, as at least five men began kicking and punching him.
It was during this time that he was bitten.
The brawl was captured on the Tavern’s CCTV cameras and the footage became the most crucial piece of evidence in determining the outcome of O’Meley’s ear bitting charge, after forensic analysis of the dismembered piece of Greig’s ear failed to produce verifiable DNA of the assailant.
There was no witness evidence to suggest that O’Meley was the brawler who bit Greig, but the prosecution argued that O’Meley, as depicted by the CCTV footage from multiple angles, was the only person involved that had the opportunity to bite Greig’s ear.
The defence argued that there were no witness accounts that substantiated the claim that O’Meley was the one who bit Greig, and that the video footage could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that O’Meley was the bitter.
O’Meley will be sentenced for his other charges in Newcastle District Court in October.
Chad Gregory, Jarrod Jacobs, Beau Stangle and the accused cousin, Nathan O’Meley, all pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the brawl.
They were given suspended sentences and community service orders.
Documents, Aug 13-16
Court File and Transcript 2016/00351862