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Bouncers -- we didn't break drinker's nose

TWO doormen at a city centre pub have been accused of tossing a customer around like a "rag doll", and leaving him in a pool of blood with a broken nose.

David Estrange (35) and Damian Painta (25) are alleged to have inflicted injuries on the pubgoer when they used "extreme force".

Both men deny assaulting Ray Murphy in the incident at No4 Dame Lane on Christmas Eve in 2008.

Judge David McHugh adjourned their trial after deciding that a high-speed "Keystone cops" CCTV recording of the incident was unsatisfactory.

Estrange, of Annaly Close, Ongar Lodge, Blanchardstown, and Painta, of North Strand Road, Dublin 3, pleaded not guilty at Dublin District Court to charges of assault causing harm to Mr Murphy on December 24, 2008.

Mr Murphy told the court he was having a "quiet drink" with his brother-in-law Des Gallagher and they arrived at the pub at 1.50am. He was on his fifth pint of the night and was sitting near the back when bouncers came, trying to clear the area. He said he told them they would be finished soon. He said they might have been told to move another time and one of the bouncers then took one of their drinks away.

Mr Murphy said he went to get up without making eye contact and was restrained from behind by the bouncers.

"It all happened very quickly, I think I was in a bit of shock," he said. "I tried to free myself, I wasn't happy with being restrained, I didn't feel the need for it. There was a struggle and we moved over towards the bar. The next thing I knew I was on the ground in a pool of blood."

Mr Murphy said he was held there for what seemed like up to 20 minutes and was in pain.

"There was blood all over my face, I couldn't put my hands up to find out what was wrong with me," he said.

He went to St James's Hospital afterwards and had a broken nose, marks on his shoulder and what looked like a footprint on his back.

"I just feel I didn't do anything to deserve coming out of there in that sort of condition", he said. Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said the accused would say it was Mr Murphy who was aggressive and said "f**k off" after being told to move several times.

They would say he had to be restrained because he would not go and pushed his chair back in an aggressive manner, Mr Hanahoe said. When they took him by the arms to move him, it was his struggling that caused his injuries, the accused would say.

Mr Gallagher said in evidence the bouncers grabbed Mr Murphy from behind when he went to stand up. "He was like a rag doll the way he was thrown around," Mr Gallagher said. "It was excessive force."

The case was adjourned after the defence objected to the "almost useless" quality of high-speed video footage.

hnews@herald.ie