‘I gave him a tap’: James Ian Longworth on trial for one-punch assault of Fady Taiba

James Ian Longworth leaves Downing Central Court on Wednesday. Photo: James Brickwood Fady Taiba outside the Downing Centre on Wednesday. Photo: James Brickwood
Shanghai night field

Standing on a strip of red carpet at the door of Bar 333 on a Friday night, the bouncer looks towards bustling George Street and ushers people inside.

When a group of three men arrive, the bouncer Fady Taiba​ – known as Fred – talks to them for a few moments and they leave.

“[Mr Taiba] did not realise that … his life was about to change,” Crown prosecutor John Pickering, SC, told Downing Centre District Courton Wednesday.

James Ian Longworth, one of the three men, was captured on CCTV footage being turned away from the bar by Mr Taiba on September 6, 2013, because he’d had too much to drink, the court heard.

“Mr Longworth … was very interested in where Fred was looking,” Mr Pickering said, describing the CCTV footage, which was played in court.

“You’ll see on the CCTV that James Longworth moves very quickly towards Fred.

“You will see that he lifts himself off the ground and throws what can only be described as a haymaker, a very big punch, and knocks him cleanly to the ground.”

Mr Longworth is facing trial charged with intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Taiba. The 34-year-old has pleaded not guilty, and will argue that he did not intend to cause serious injury.

The court heard Mr Taiba had major brain surgery, and does not remember the incident.

Mr Pickering told the court there would be evidence that Mr Longworth drank about 10 beers before arriving at Bar 333 sometime after 10pm.

Mr Longworth’s defence barrister, Hament Dhanji, SC, told the jury there would be no issue his client struck Mr Taiba, or that the bouncer was seriously injured.

Mr Longworth’s state of mind at the time of the punch would be the central issue at trial, Mr Dhanji said.

Mr Dhanji told the jury they would hear evidence that soon afterwards, Mr Longworth asked police: “Is he hurt? I had no idea it would end up like this.”

He also told police: “He wouldn’t allow us in, so I gave him a tap. I didn’t know he would land like that. I stupidly gave him a tap.”

He said the jury would hear evidence that Mr Longworth had returned from a six-year stint working in London in mid-2013 after his father died.

His mother, uncle and friends will give evidence about some of the things going on in Mr Longworth’s life at the time, the court heard.

Mr Longworth was not aware of publicity surrounding one-punch assaults in Sydney while he was overseas, Mr Dhanji said.

The trial continues before Judge Richard Cogswell.

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