Defendant Anton Smith and his wife outside the Gladstone District Courthouse.
Defendant Anton Smith and his wife outside the Gladstone District Courthouse. Luka Kauzlaric

Jury finds man not guilty of GBH charge from CBD king-hit

ONE family's cries of relief reverberated around Gladstone District Court, as Anton Smith was found not guilty of one count of causing grievous bodily harm.

Mr Smith was on trial for a punch thrown at Justin Whitfield outside the Reef Hotel in the early hours of Christmas Eve, 2011.

The jury took more than four hours of deliberation on Wednesday to return its verdict, which was met by tears of relief from Mr Smith's family, who had gathered to support the 32-year-old local.

Judge Paul Smith had earlier summed up the cases of both the Crown and the defence and implored the jury to leave emotion out when deciding whether or not Mr Smith had unlawfully caused grievous bodily harm to Mr Whitfield.

Mr Whitfield sustained permanent brain injuries as a result of the incident, after his head struck the ground after being knocked unconscious by the blow.

Doctor explains extent of injuries from alleged king-hit

However, defence barrister David Murray had argued his client had acted in self-defence, after witnesses described seeing Mr Whitfield clutching a broken bottle at the time of the attack and acting extremely aggressively prior to the incident.

Jury to decide if attack was self-defence against glassing

Judge Smith said the jury had to decide whether Mr Whitfield had posed a significant enough threat to Mr Smith to warrant his response via the punch he threw which floored Mr Whitfield.

"Bear in mind a person defending themselves doesn't have time to measure how much force is necessary," Judge Smith said.

"It's easy to be an armchair critic."

Kev Charles, father-in-law of Mr Smith, was overcome with emotion outside the courthouse after the verdict had been delivered.

"I'm very relieved," Mr Charles exclaimed.

"It's good to see justice does allow a man to protect his family."

Anton Smith Trial

  • Jury heard from 12 witnesses, including eyewitnesses and medical experts
  • Deliberated for more than four hours on Wednesday before coming to a decision