Barry McElduff secures conviction in case involving the partial blinding of an American tourist

November 8, 2018

James Kelly was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment following his unanimous conviction by a jury before HHJ Drew QC at Birmingham Crown Court last Friday.

Jonathan and Ian Hockaday are US citizens who arrived in the UK on the 13th April for a family holiday that involved visiting their English cousins. on the first night of their trip they attended an event at the Minworth Social Club. Mr Kelly engaged them in conversation and in particular was asking them questions about Donald Trump. The Prosecution’s case was that Mr Kelly’s motive was not to engage the brothers in political debate but to goad them. In fact it was Mr Kelly who became agitated and aggressive and initiated a fight with the brothers. Others intervened and as matters began to settle it was alleged by the Crown, and duly found to be so by the jury, that Mr Kelly ‘glassed’ Jonathan Hockaday with a stemmed pint glass causing extensive damage to Mr Hockaday’s left eye to the extent that the entire globe required removal.

It was a sensitive and difficult case. As part of the defence case witnesses were called that suggested that in fact it was the Americans who had been the aggressors and all Mr Kelly had done was act in reasonable self-defence.

Plainly the jury rejected the account of Mr Kelly and the witnesses called on his behalf.

Barry was instructed by CPS West Midlands