UPDATED: Imperial doormen trial: Saints youngster tells court he rugby tackled bouncer because he feared team-mate's life was in danger (From St Helens Star)
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Imperial doormen trial: Saints youngster Carl Forster rugby tackled bouncer because he feared the life of team-mate Sia Soliola was in danger
2:19pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
A YOUNG Saints player has told a court he dashed down a nightclub stairs and rugby tackled a bouncer because he feared for his teammate’s life.
Carl Forster, a prop forward, described to a jury the moments he came to Sia Soliola’s aid at the entrance to the Imperial bar, on Ormskirk Street.
Mr Forster had been in the bar with Mr Soliola, 26, and their friend Stephen Bacon, 46, in the early hours of Monday, March 12 last year.
He told the court he was upstairs in the nightclub when he was informed that his two friends were involved in an altercation with the doormen.
He said: “Someone spoke to me and said they were in trouble. I put down my drink and went straight downstairs.
“I just seen one of them fighting with Stephen and three or four fighting with Sia. They were bouncers.
“Sia was holding his face to stop them punching him.”
Asked by prosecutor Phil Astbury, what he did next, Mr Forster replied: “I ran downstairs and rugby tackled one of the bouncers and it all just kicked off.”
Asked why, he said: “I feared for Sia’s life. It was ‘hellish’ there were three of four people on him – he had no chance of defending himself.”
Mr Forster, 20, who is on the fringes of Saints’ first team, was giving evidence as a prosecution witness.
Three doormen – Christopher Rose, Lee Simpson and Keiran Waters – are standing trial accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Soliola, a backrower with Saints.
They all deny the charge.
Mr Forster went on to describe the moments Mr Soliola “was hit across the face with a metal pole”.
He added: “He dropped to the deck. He didn’t know where he was. We tried to pick up Sia and move him but he was like a dead weight.
“He was in the Imperial doorway. He was sat up but his eyes were closed and his nose was bleeding. We (Ste Bacon and I) picked him up under his arms and carried him away.
Asked how he felt, Mr Forster said: “I was scared. We took Sia to near the Sefton pub and I rang the police and the ambulance.
“I had a cut on the back of my head and I went with Sia in the ambulance to Whiston Hospital.”
However, under cross examination Gerald Baxter, defending, questioned Mr Forster’s version of events.
He suggested the witness threw the first punch and kept coming back to the doorway to confront the bouncers.
He asked: “You were just fighting, getting stuck in?”
Mr Forster replied: “No.”
Mr Baxter added: “You have completely distorted the picture of what happened, painting him as the victim?”
Again Mr Forster denied this.
Asked later by Neville Biddle, representing Simpson, how much he had had to drink he answered: “Three of four pints, I’m not a big drinker”.
Mr Biddle said it had been “clearly possible” for Mr Forster and Mr Soliola to walk away from the confrontation and questioned whether the witness was telling the truth.
Mr Forster answered: “I’m telling you my version of what happened.”
The case continues