Doorman claims self-defense in killing Hookes

Published: Monday, August 22, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:A doorman charged with killing prominent Australian cricket coach David Hookes outside a Melbourne pub claimed in court that he had acted in self-defence.

Zdravko Micevic, 23, went on trial charged with manslaughter and assault over the January 2004 incident outside the pub in Melbourne's Saint Kilda neighborhood. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Hookes, 48, a former Test batsman and coach of the Victoria state team at the time, died of head injuries a day after being punched by Micevic outside the pub, where members of the Victoria team were celebrating a victory.

Defense lawyers told the jury Monday that Hookes and his friends acted aggressively when told to leave the pub at closing time and that the coach was forcibly ejected from the building by security guards.

The prosecution alleges Hookes then walked away from the pub and had his hands by his sides when he was punched by Micevic, causing him to hit his head on the road.

But Micevic's lawyer said Monday that his client, a former amateur boxer, had acted in self-defense after Hookes punched him twice.

Monday's session before the Victoria state Supreme Court was taken up with opening arguments. The first witness will give evidence on Tuesday.

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