Woman’s eye ruptured in workshop fight
A JURY has found a woman not guilty of assault causing grievous bodily harm to another woman at a Redbank Plains workshop.
The injured woman lost the sight in her left eye after punches were thrown between the women inside the work shed.
Teri Vanessa Habgood, 36, from Collingwood Park, stood trial this week in Ipswich District Court on a charge that she unlawfully caused grievous bodily harm to Ebony Malcolm at Redbank Plains on November 6, 2019.
In the defended hearing it was accepted that Ms Malcolm's left eye ruptured as a result of a strike to the eye and that this caused a loss of sight.
Habgood defended the charge on the basis that she acted in self-defence and the injury suffered by Ms Malcolm was not intended.
The defence argued that it had simply been a tragic consequence following a verbal disagreement that became physical.
Habgood alleged it was started by Ms Malcolm and that she reacted in self-defence when Ms Malcolm was "coming in for the swing".
She also stated she felt "picked on" that day.
Medical evidence from a doctor stated that substantial force had been used to rupture the eye's globe.
Ms Malcolm's father also gave evidence and the jury heard claims that Ms Malcolm called Habgood "a f***ing bitch".
One witness said he saw both women throwing punches after Habgood had apparently gone back to the work shed to get a dog and was then "slammed" up against a car.
The physical size of both women was discussed, with Ms Malcolm described as being the larger of the two.
"I don't believe what happened. I didn't think I had the power," Habgood reportedly said to the investigating police officers after the incident.
In summing up the evidence given by Crown and defence witnesses, defence barrister Scott Neaves argued that the serious injury causing the eye to rupture was unfortunate and not foreseen.
"Ms Habgood says she threw three punches," he said.
"This was a lady acting in self-defence.
"Ms Habgood had no intention to do this injury."
In finalising the defence case, Mr Neaves said the jury must put aside any feelings of sympathy in its consideration of the evidence.
Judge Dennis Lynch QC took the jury through legal points to consider, including reference to the disputed evidence as to who had started the physical dispute, and whether the Crown prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The jury returned its not guilty verdict later that afternoon.