Date: 13 Jun 1996
Albert OKane died a week after he was punched at a funfair.
A 23-year-old fairground worker was tried for manslaughter but acquitted.
It was thought that Albert OKane had been punched once, causing brain damage from which he later died.
The fairground worker had been working on the waltzer at Finsbury Frolics, a council sponsored funfair in Finsbury when a fight broke out on the waltzers between a group of youths that Albert OKane had been with and the fairground workers.
The fairground worker denied punching Albert OKane and said he could not remember exactly what happened as the group of youths who Albert OKane was with, described as a pack, attacked the people that had been working on the waltzer ride.
It was heard that the group of youths that Albert OKane was with had been to an off licence beforehand and had then descended on the funfair.
It was said that when they got to the waltzer some of the youths spat at one of the workers because he was black and then chased him down Mitchell Street where they beat him up. A 64-year-old man then attempted to intervene, and he was also punched. The fairground worker then went to help his co-worker that had been beaten up and who was hiding under a lorry. He said that he approached the youths with outstretched palms to try and stop the violence but said that when they saw him they turned their attention on him.
A witness said that the affray became a free for all with blows exchanged between the fairground workers and the youths.
The fight ended after the police were called and the sound of police sirens could be heard. However, Albert OKane was left lying on the ground injured. He was taken to hospital where it was found that an artery in his neck had been ruptured which had caused brain damage.
He was kept on a life support machine for a week but died when it was switched off on 13 June 1996.
The court heard that four of the youths that had been involved in the affray said that they had seen the fairground worker punch Albert OKane from behind. However, the defending counsel said, 'It is quite clear those young men are liars. They lied not about who kicked who, but about their own involvement'. He went on to say that they had probably lied out of a 'desire to protect the memory of their friend' and in an attempted to 'scupper' the truth from being told. In his closing speech the defending counsel said, 'The fairground worker does not know whether he did it, and I suggest none of us can know'.
Both Albert OKane and the fairground worker had lived in Islington and it was heard that Albert OKane's death had caused a lot of tension between their families and the fairground worker had had to move away before the trial.