Albion star's 'arrogance' starts fight

First published in News

A Brighton and Hove Albion footballer's arrogance sparked a "large-scale" fight outside a nightclub between groups of black and white men, a court heard today (November 19).

Kazenga Lua Lua, formerly of Premiership team Newcastle United and now playing Brighton and Hove Albion, his friend Andy Mogwo and co-accused Kevin Ashong, who claimed to have heard a racial insult, deny affray at Newcastle Crown Court.

James Adkin, prosecuting, said there was serious disorder outside the Riverside club on the city's quayside in the early hours of June 26 last year.

The jury heard Lua Lua started the violence after he argued with a man called Michael Ball outside the club, and punched him in the face.

"He seemed to admit it was his arrogance and attitude that had caused the trouble," Mr Adkin said.

"Whatever the precise circumstances of the argument, that confrontation between Kazenga Lua Lua and Michael Ball was the spark that caused the significant upsurge in violence.

"A group of black males surged over to Michael Ball and friends. At one stage some witnesses suggest someone blew a whistle which seemed to galvanise the black males into action."

It was only good fortune that prevented more serious injury in the fighting that followed, the jury heard.

A man called Jordan Bogie, who tried to help Mr Ball, was punched to the floor and was repeatedly kicked while he was unable to defend himself, Mr Adkin said.

"The men in the dock were part of that aggressive group of black men who surged over to the white males and kicked and punched them unlawfully," he added.

Aggressors

Mr Bogie was saved by a Royal Marine who was out separately that night, and who later told the police he believed the black men were the aggressors.

Mr Bogie was knocked unconscious for eight minutes after the five-on-one attack, the court heard.

Another man was knocked over after trying to help Mr Ball and curled into a ball to protect himself from kicks, the court heard.

When police interviewed Lua Lua later, the court heard he admitted being outside the club and that he had walked between Mr Ball and a friend.

"Lua Lua was told he really should say 'excuse me'," the jury was told.

"He said he was not going to apologise and admitted being deliberately provocative and doing it again."

The footballer, 21, from Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex, claimed he was pushed and so he slapped the man back, then moved away from the violence that followed.

Mogwo, 19, of Redland Avenue, Newcastle, told officers he was punched by a man and hit back once in self-defence.

Eshong, 20, of Kingston University, told police "someone was being racist towards Kaz", Mr Adkin said, and after seeing what was happening, he acted in self-defence.

The jury was told Orivaldo Neto, 20, of Springwell Close, Winlaton, Gateshead, has pleaded guilty to affray.

The trial continues.

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