Former boxing champion David Haye cleared of assault

The retired boxer said he was ‘very pleased’ with the ruling

Lamiat Sabin
Tuesday 04 October 2022 21:00 BST
David Haye arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court
David Haye arrives at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (Yui Mok/PA)

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Louise Thomas

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Former boxing champion David Haye has been cleared of assault after judges ruled that he had no case to answer.

Mr Haye, 41, was accused of grabbing a man by the throat and threatening to kill him during the interval of a comedy show.

It was alleged that he assaulted Nickesh Jhala halfway through comedian Paul Chowdhry’s show at the Hammersmith Apollo in west London, on 30 October 2021.

But, at Westminster magistrates’ court on Tuesday, chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said the bench was satisfied that “there is no case to answer” after hearing the prosecution’s evidence and reviewing CCTV footage.

Speaking to reporters outside court immediately after the ruling, Mr Haye said he was “very happy” and “very pleased” with the result.

Earlier in the court proceedings, prosecuting lawyer Jonathan Bryan said that Mr Jhala, his cousin Vishal Vadher and his girlfriend had been moved to better seats during the interval before Mr Haye approached him.

Recalling his version of events, which Mr Haye disputed, Mr Jhala said: “He leans down to me, starts speaking into my ear and puts his hand around my throat.”

Mr Jhala, who said he was “shaking” and felt “threatened”, claimed Mr Haye said to him: “Say one more word and I am going to kill you.”

Defence barrister James Scobie KC said Mr Haye did not put his hands around Mr Jhala’s throat and that the “most” he did was put his hand on his shoulder. He said he made “no threats to kill, ever”.

Mr Scobie added that Mr Vadher was a boxing fan and had asked Mr Haye for an autograph, but had been refused because the ex-sportsman was talking to his girlfriend.

After that, Mr Scobie said, Mr Jhala and Mr Vadher began discussing Mr Haye’s career and mentioned other boxers such as Amir Khan and Tony Bellew loud enough for him to hear to “get a rise out of him”.

Mr Jhala and Mr Vadher also commented that Mr Haye’s girlfriend “must love the brothers”, meaning she was attracted to black men, Mr Scobie said.

Mr Haye and his lawyers claimed that he said to Mr Jhala at this point: “Don’t talk about me or my girlfriend any more. That’s enough. Otherwise I will have you thrown out.”

Mr Jhala had denied Mr Haye’s version of events.

He made a report to the police online a few days after the show because he “didn’t want to ruin the evening”, the court heard.

Mr Haye was arrested after stepping off a plane on 2 June at Heathrow airport.

He retired from boxing in 2018 with a record of 28 wins and just four losses in his career.

In 2008, he became a unified cruiserweight world champion and claimed the WBA title in 2009 after moving up to heavyweight status.

Mr Haye also joined the 12th series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here in 2012, coming third.

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