Man Goes Free After Court Decides Champagne Bottle Bash Was Self Defense

A San Francisco man was acquitted Thursday of assaulting a coworker during a dispute over music at an office happy hour event, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

Gaspar Magisa was acquitted of charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury in connection with the April 27, 2012 incident, according to Deputy Public Defender Jacque Wilson, who defended Magisa in the trial.

Magisa was arrested after a fight in which his coworker, a 30-year-old man, was smashed on the head with a champagne bottle, causing cuts that required 17 stitches and two staples to close.

Witnesses testified that Magisa and other employees had become annoyed with the younger man after he insisted on turning off their music selections, which included Michael Jackson, in favor of electronic dance music, according to Wilson.

Magisa approached the victim, who witnesses said was intoxicated, after he switched the music again, but when the younger man rushed toward the computer and Magisa with an angry look, Magisa swung a champagne bottle at his head, Wilson said.

Magisa argued he was acting in self-defense, and witnesses supported this argument, stating that the younger man had behaved in a violent and erratic manner on previous occasions, Wilson said.

Police also testified the victim was belligerent when they arrived and had to be handcuffed before he could receive medical attention. He also used a racial epithet, told police he wanted to harm Magisa and behaved in a hostile and uncooperative manner in court, Wilson said.

Magisa had faced a potential sentence of five years for the case if he was convicted.

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