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Matthew Manson (centre) has been found not guilty of assaulting friend Toby Williams in a dispute over Williams' girlfriend Dana O'Brien, who is pictured with her mother Allison Scott.
Matthew Manson (centre) has been found not guilty of assaulting friend Toby Williams in a dispute over Williams' girlfriend Dana O'Brien, who is pictured with her mother Allison Scott.

Jury finds man not guilty over spanner assault

A MUM’S worry over a teenage daughter dating a man 20 years her senior was the catalyst for a violent driveway confrontation that led to her daughter’s boyfriend being injured when struck with a spanner.

There was no dispute in court evidence that the mother’s then-boyfriend Matthew Peter Manson, aged 38, struck Toby Daniel Williams, 40, with the spanner and caused an arm injury requiring six stitches at Rosewood on Friday, December 13 2019.

At his trial in Ipswich District Court this week, Manson successfully defended the charge of assault causing bodily harm.

After two days of evidence the jury found him not guilty and Manson was discharged.

Defence barrister Mitch Rawlings and instructing solicitor Yasser Khan argued that the fight had been consensual, and there had been provocation with Manson coming to the aid of then-girlfriend Allison Scott when she and Toby Williams argued on the driveway.

At the time Mr Williams had only been dating Ms Scott‘s 19-year-old daughter Dana O’Brien for three months.

Dana O'Brien (right) with her mother Allison Scott.
Dana O'Brien (right) with her mother Allison Scott.

Ms O’Brien, who remains in a relationship with Williams, gave evidence.

Her mother was not required to give evidence, but Ms Scott sat in her wheelchair and watched trial proceedings before Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC.

The court heard Manson referred to Williams as being his best mate when spoken to by police, and said he had no regret for what occurred.

Williams said he drove into his Rosewood driveway with Ms O’Brien and a black Holden Commodore driven by Scott came in behind and parked.

He maintained that Manson was first out of that car and was yelling and holding a spanner.

He said in his evidence that he put his arm up to fend-off the spanner and was struck.

“When cross-examined by Mr Rawling, Williams said he was 40 and Dana 19, and they had just started their relationship with people saying it was inappropriate and calling him names like paedophile,” Mr Rawlings asked

“Other people had a problem with it?”

Toby Williams was struck with a spanner by his friend Matthew Manson.
Toby Williams was struck with a spanner by his friend Matthew Manson.

“They certainly did,” Mr Williams said.

In her evidence Dana O’Brien, now 20, said her mother had been first out of the car in the driveway and not Manson, her mother’s then boyfriend.

“Toby got out and it sort of blew up,” Ms O’Brien said.

“Matt walked over to Toby and they started yelling at each other.

“Matt had a metal thing and started throwing it around and sort of hit Toby,” she said.

Matthew Manson was found not guilty at trial.
Matthew Manson was found not guilty at trial.

Ms O’Brien agreed when cross-examined by Mr Rawlings that her mother was not happy when they first began dating and called Williams a paedophile.

She said they were now on friendly terms.

In police body-worn camera footage shown to the jury, Manson said Williams, “was laughing, being a smart-arse, and pushing Allison away”.

“I wasn’t going to take it. I grabbed a f**king spanner and whacked him with it,” he said.

“Hit him on the arm. Allison was between us.

“I won’t fight. He knows that. He was egging me on.

“Known him since school, 25 years.”

With the jury sent out to consider all evidence in the late afternoon, it returned a not-guilty verdict before lunch the following day.



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