A 27-year-old man who got involved in late night violence in a queue for a takeaway fast food restaurant was found not guilty of manslaughter today.
Joseph Kent, who was a tattoo artist in Northampton, was punched on the side of the jaw and upper part of his neck, with catastrophic consequences.
He suffered a brain haemorrhage and died two days later, just a day before his 25th birthday.
Today the man who threw the fatal blow, Samir Bostan, was found not guilty of Mr Kent’s manslaughter.
He said he had hit Mr Kent outside the Xscape nightspot in Milton Keynes “to get him away” and because he thought Mr Kent was about to attack him.
Mr Bostan’s aquittal today came at the end of a retrial at Luton crown court.
Earlier this year another jury had failed to reach a verdict on the manslaughter charge.
They did find Bostan guilty of assaulting a friend of Mr Kent, occasioning him actual bodily harm.
Today Bostan was sentenced for that offence and given a 26 week jail sentence.
But because of the time he had spent in custody on remand and later on an electronically tagged home curfew, Judge Michael Kay told him “your sentence is deemed as served.”
He told him he was was free to leave court.
Moments earlier as he sentenced Bostan for the offence of assaulting Mr Kent’s friend, Andrew Curzon-Berners, the judge said “It’s a depressing and ultimately tragic tale of young men - it’s always young men - who have been drinking and who end up fighting.
“Judges in this court and every court sit here week after week hearing tales of such events. It’s virtually always late at night after pubs and clubs have closed and, over nothing at all, violence breaks out.”
Joe Kent and his wife of five months, Emma, had gone out to celebrate her 22nd birthday with friends.
Their group ended up in a bar in the Xscape building, and left in the early hours of 13 January 2013, when it was decided they would get something to eat from the nearby takeaway outlets.
As Mr Kent and his friend, Mr Curzon-Berners were waiting in a queue of people to go inside a Kentucky Fried Restaurant, they got into an argument with Mr Bostan and his friends. including his brother Tariq.
Judge Kay said it appeared to Mr Kent and his friend, that Bostan’s brother Tariq was pushing in and words were exchanged.
The judge said Samir Bostan who, at the time, was living in Milton Keynes, had sought to “diffuse the situation” and make peace with the other group.
But he said moments later Tariq Bostan had started fighting with Mr Curzon-Berners, which had led to “tragic consequences” for Mr Kent.
In the fighting that followed, Samir Bostan hit Mr Curzon-Berners a number of times.
Joseph Kent was also caught up in the violence.
Giving evidence Samir Bostan, of Clarkes Spring, Tring in Herts., said he twice struck Mr Kent to “get him away.”
The jury were told it was the second blow that was to prove fatal.
The impact caused a sudden twisting of Mr Kent’s neck and head and he suffered a “traumatic sub-arachnoid haemorrhage.”
Pathologist, Dr Nicholas Hunt, who carried out a post mortem, described it as a dense bleed at the bottom part of the brain as it sits on the base of the skull.
The pathologist said he then examined two arteries that supplied blood to Mr Kent’s brain and found a “possible tear” and bleeding around the left artery.
Mr Bostan told the court “I did everything possible not to fight. I didn’t want to hurt him, to do that to him, but I just felt I had to hit him.”
Moment’s after receiving the second blow, Mr Kent collapsed unconscious to the pavement.
He never regained consciousness and, after being pronounced brain dead two days later, his life support machine was turned off.
After the jury’s verdict the court heard Samir Bostan had been convicted previously for using threatening, insulting words and behaviour during another public order incident close to the Xscape centre.
For that he had been given a community order.