Barney Gush, an associate in the Real Estate Disputes practice in the London office of Eversheds Sutherland, is facing charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm after a September 2021 night out. He’s accused of fracturing the jaw of investment banker, Jonathan Luke, but Gush contends he only did so after he was called a homophobic slur at a London bar.
As reported by RollOnFriday, Luke says he was “reasonably tipsy” at the time of the incident:
“I was with colleagues and having a nice time and I remember feeling this punch at the bottom of my jaw from the right. It felt like a big, sudden impact, a shock,” Luke told the court. “I was not braced for any impact and it was very sore. I felt a bit of a hole in my mouth and it was where the jaw had displaced.”
Luke said he hoped he could sleep it off, but went to A&E in the morning. “I could not swallow and two metal plates were put in to crack the lower jaw back into place,” he said.
Gush, through his attorney, Aisling Byrnes, paints a different picture, saying Luke was “very drunk” and he was “making a little bit of a nuisance” of himself on the dance floor:
Gush claims that the banker shouted the gay slur: “F*** off you little p***,” due to his flamboyant dancing at the bar. Luke denies making the homophobic slur.
Byrnes said that while it is not disputed that Gush hit Luke, the banker had “made physical contact” with Gush while he was dancing. “He and his friend moved away and you backed into him harder than before while he was dancing,” Byrnes put it to Luke.
According to Gush, he asked Luke why he kept bumping into him and told him to leave him alone. But Luke insisted: “I didn’t really bump into anyone.”
Prosecutors have disputed Gush’s story, saying Luke “did not commit any act of violence” and “nothing justified the defendant punching him in the face with such force.” But Gush insists he acted in self-defense, and Luke moved towards him with his arm at “neck and chest height.”
The trial is ongoing.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.