NewsLocalCoral Bay hit and run: Pub owner says victim and defendant had...

Coral Bay hit and run: Pub owner says victim and defendant had argued

The owner of a Coral Bay pub told Paphos Criminal court on Tuesday that there had been an angry row between a 35 year old man charged with the manslaughter of Robert James Birch  and the victim and he had been obliged to ask them to leave.

Birch was hit by a car and fatally injured while walking along the road  on June 24, 2018 at Ayios Georgios in Peyia. His friend, aged 32,  suffered serious injuries. Witnesses said the victims had intervened when defendant assaulted a woman who was with him.

A 35 year old charged with manslaughter and attempted murder denies the charges.

The trial continued on Tuesday with four witnesses for the prosecution — the owner of the pub and his son and two Paphos traffic police officers.

The pub owner and his son said the defendant and the two Britons had argued in the pub and were asked to leave. All three had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, they said.

Defence lawyer Savvas Matsas said that despite being provoked by the two Britons and being assaulted by one of them when he tried to take his girl friend by the hand to leave the pub, he never replied and his only objective was to leave the pub.

The police officers said they had been informed of a hit and run. They said they later found the defendant and his girl friend near Ayios Georgios fishing shelter and that the woman had admitted that her boyfriend had deliberately hit the two Britons with his car.

This was disputed by the defence lawyer who said that the police officer did not have his note book on the night. The police officer countered that he could remember what he had been told by individuals involved in such a serious incident.

The 35 year old is accused of causing the death of Birch by an illegal act, more specifically by hitting him with his car as the victim and his friend were walking on Ayios Georgios avenue in Peyia. The defendant had initially faced charges of premeditated murder and attempted murder, but the charge sheet was amended to manslaughter.

Police who went to went to scene found the 39 year old dead on the road and the second man, aged 32, injured. The driver of the car had abandoned the scene of the accident. A little later, police were informed that the car had been driven into the sea at the fishing shelter.

Two people, a man and woman, were seen exiting the car and were picked up by police as they were walking on the Ayios Georgios Peyia main road.

The 23 year old woman who was with the defendant on the night was initially arrested as an accessory but later released without charges after nothing incriminating emerged against her.

The trial continues on June 4. The defendant remains in police custody.

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