Defending an assault case involving a bar fight requires careful consideration of legal strategies to build a strong defence. Here are key points discussed in the video tip on how to win such a case:

Common Defences

  • Self-Defence: If you were acting in self-defence, claiming that you were attacked and responded to protect yourself.
  • Consensual Fight: In cases where both parties mutually agreed to a fight and there are no injuries (i.e., no bodily harm) arguing that it was consensual.
  • Mistaken Identity: If there’s a possibility of mistaken identity, asserting that witnesses identified the wrong person.
  • Credibility or reliability issues: the alleged victim or other witnesses are lying/exaggerating or not accurate regarding their version of events.  


Challenges for the Crown Successfully Prosecuting Bar Fight Cases

  • Unreliable Witnesses: Witnesses in bar fight cases may be unreliable due to alcohol and/or drug consumption, leading to poor memories and conflicting statements.
  • Multiple Versions of Events: Different witnesses may provide varied versions of events, creating confusion.
  • Biased Witnesses


Defence Strategy

  • Preparation: Thoroughly prepare the accused to testify, providing a clear and consistent version of events.
  • Reviewing Disclosure: Examine and analyze all available evidence, including video footage and witness statements from different angles.
  • Identifying Inconsistencies: Pin down the Crown witnesses to a specific version of events and identify inconsistencies between their testimony and their initial statements to the police. 
  • Create inconsistency between the various Crown witnesses preventing the judge or jury from finding an accurate and consistent version of events beyond a reasonable doubt. 
  • Reasonable Doubt: Emphasize the unreliability of witnesses due to alcohol and/or drug  consumption, biases, and confusion, creating reasonable doubt.
  • Cross-examine the Crown witnesses with a view to showing the alleged victim was the aggressor and the accused acted in self-defence. 
  • WD Test (Credibility Assessment): Apply the WD Test to assess the Crown witnesses and the accused’s credibility and potentially demonstrate that the confusion in the case cannot be resolved.   A trial can be won if either the accused’s version of events is accepted or if the Crown has not proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  The burden is always on the Crown to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and for this reason a good criminal lawyer can often win a bar fight assault trial. 



  • Reasonable Doubt: The goal is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge or jury by highlighting inconsistencies and unreliability among witnesses.
  • Video Evidence: If available, video evidence can play a crucial role in providing an objective account of events.


Final Consideration

Sometimes, the more witnesses the Crown calls, the more the case can unravel if their 

lack of reliability and inconsistent/confused versions of events becomes apparent.

In summary, the strategy revolves around careful preparation, identifying inconsistencies, and leveraging the unreliable nature of witness testimonies to establish reasonable doubt. Building a strong defence in bar fight cases requires a nuanced approach to navigate the complexities of the situation. Individuals facing such charges are advised to consult with experienced legal professionals for case-specific guidance.

Video Transcription:

Thank you for joining me today. I’m here to talk to you about how to win a case where you’re involved in a bar fight. Obviously, in situations involving abar, there’s liquor and you’re dealing with – typically – very unreliable witnesses and many of whom could be drunk or under the influence and what happens in this particular case is clients come to us and they say, “Look, Mike, I was acting in self- defense. I was attacked and now all of these guys witnesses, he’s the guy that attacked me, his buddies are testifying against me and they’re saying the same thing on paper essentially.” So we get all these police reports so there’s one example from all of these witnesses. Another client might say to me, “Look this was a mutual fight, no one was injured, we agreed to fight.” That’s a defense, if there’s no significant injuries you can engage in a consensual fight. If there’s injuries on the other part person which are significant beyond trifling, you can’t consent with that. The other common defense to a bar fight is a case of mistaken identity. People got the wrong person because there’s a lot of action happening. What do we do then? We prepare you to testify. We receive your version of events and we look at all the disclosure video statements from different witnesses and different angles and what I’ve often found in these cases is when it gets in trial, the case breaks down and the crown starts calling all these witnesses and many of whom were drinking and you wouldn’t even think they’re seeing the same events as the next witness. The technique here is to pin the first witness down to a version of events. Try and create inconsistencies between his version and the original video that he or she gave that’s a prior inconsistent statement and start comparing them from the other witnesses so for example, if the crowd calls five or six witnesses all have been drinking, you wouldn’t even think sometimes they saw the same event, that’s called reasonable doubt and the court can make it out. It becomes comical sometimes because this person’s certain, that person’s certain. The only thing that could sort this out is if you have a video camera and the video camera probably you know was different from all of the people’s memories as well because: they’re drinking, they’re drunk, they’re unreliable, they’re trying to help their friend, they’re biased. That’s what they ‘think’ they saw. There’s confusion, things are happening quickly. This is why you can win a bar fight in terms of winning in court. You can create reasonable doubt. You apply the WD Test, the test that I refer to in many other videos about how to assess the accused’s credibility. Sometimes you don’t even have to call the accused because the situation is so confused the judge or jury throws their hands up at the end of the case and they say “look I can’t sort this out”. There’s more than reasonable doubt. These witnesses were all drunk and they’re unreliable. I’ve seen so many of these cases fall apart. Sometimes, the more witnesses the crown calls, the worse it gets. That’s the video tip of the day and that’s how you can win in a court on a defending a bar fight situation.
By Published On: July 27, 2023Last Updated: June 19, 2024Categories: Assault, Video

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