A MAN says he hit a disabled person and his friend in self-defence after a street brawl erupted in Newbury town centre.

Ben Borges, of Blyth Avenue, Thatcham, denies assaulting a man in a wheelchair and kicking his friend in the head after they jumped to his rescue on July 30 last year.

The 26-year-old was said to have shouted at Matthew Greenwood in an offending manner by making remarks about his disability.

Borges claims he acted in self-defence after Greenwood ‘used the wheelchair as a weapon’ and denied assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

A second victim, Scott Taylor, was punched in the face and sustained injuries to his jaw after he was kicked in the head while lying unconscious on the pavement.

Simon Grant, defending Borges, said: “The incident involving the second victim involves punches and kicks, with bruising and swelling around the jaw area. There are quite a lot of witnesses involved in this case.

“It is right to say he has given a full account to the police in one of his interviews. It was a fight in Newbury town centre. He says he was attacked by a man in a wheelchair.

“He says the man was using the wheelchair as a weapon. The second man intervened at that stage and Mr Borges accepts he hit him in self-defence.”

Lesley Gilmore, prosecuting, said Borges was accused of harassing the man in the wheelchair by making fun of his condition before punches were thrown.

Mr Greenwood is said to rely on the wheelchair and is only capable of walking short distances.

A trial was fixed for the same court on April 20 and Borges was granted unconditional bail.

Amanda Coneley, chair of the bench, added: “Your case cannot go any further today.

“Your trial will take place on April 20 and if you do not return you may be committing an offence, for which you may be fined or sent to prison.

“If you do not attend the trial may go ahead in your absence and you will not have the opportunity to defend yourself.”