David Haye cleared of assault after judge finds ex-boxer has no case to answer

David Haye has been cleared  (PA Wire)
David Haye has been cleared (PA Wire)

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.

However the criminal trial at Westminster magistrates court was stopped by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring, sitting with two other magistrates, after the prosecution case and before Haye had given evidence.

Haye, wearing a white shirt and a navy blazer, said he was “very happy” and “very pleased” when the two-day trial was cut short.

The court had heard evidence from Mr Jhala, his cousin Vishal Vadher and his girlfriend Nina Nagar, as well as independent witness Rupal Karia.

They, along with Haye and his girlfriend, had been in the audience for a Paul Chowdhry comedy gig when the former boxer went over to speak to Mr Jhala.

CCTV caught the moment Haye stepped over the back of his seat during the interval and leant in to speak to Mr Jhala.

Mr Jhala claimed he was grabbed around the throat by the former heavyweight boxer and told “say one more word and I’m going to kill you”.

But Haye insisted he had done nothing more than put his hand on Mr Jhala’s shoulder while suggesting his group stop making derogatory remarks about his career.

The court heard earlier in the interval Mr Vadher, a boxing fan, had gone to try to speak to Haye but was rebuffed by Haye who told him: “Can’t you see I’m talking?”

Mr Vadher returned to his seat and was then, in earshot of Haye, said to have made a derogatory reference to the boxer’s defeat to Tony Bellew and his withdrawal from another fight due to a toe injury.

He denied a further claim that he had loudly suggested Amir Khan would have spoken to him and posed for a picture.

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.

In his evidence Mr Jhala insisted the derogatory comments about Haye’s boxing career had been made after the confrontation, and he was unable to say what may have provoked the boxer to grab him by the throat.

Dismissing the charge, magistrates said the prosecution's evidence and CCTV footage had not provided evidence of an assault and they were satisfied that "that there is no case to answer".

Haye was arrested in June as he stepped off a plane at Heathrow Airport, when he was charged with assault and held in custody to appear in court.

He was never questioned by police about the incident, and first put forward his denial during legal proceedings.