London Trader Facing Manslaughter Charges For Killing A Guy With One Punch

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A year or so ago, petroleum trader Jeremy Aylmer punched IT executive Charles Cox outside London nightclub Floridita. Now he might go to jail because Cox was knocked unconscious, never came to, and died 20 months later. According to the Aylmer's lawyer, he never meant to kill the guy! Or even hurt him too much! But, you know, shit happens. Also, naturally, this was over a woman.

"The defendant was drunk and he was pestering a young woman outside the nightclub and Mr Cox intervened and pushed him away from the woman, and the defendant punched him," claimed the prosecutor. "The defendant claims he was acting in self-defence, protecting himself from Mr Cox. But you will hear from witnesses present at he scene and will see a CCTV recording of what happened, and we say, it was not self-defence. Mr Cox, who was carrying his briefcase and umbrella in one hand, was not offering violence to the defendant. He was telling him in robust language to go away. There was simply no need at all for the defendant to use any violence, but he chose to punch and punch hard." The barrister said there was no suggestion Aylmer intended to kill Mr Cox or even cause him such severe injuries. But the punch was "deliberate, forceful, and aimed at Mr Cox's face." He added: "Not a single witness suggests that Mr Cox offered any violence at all, and it was this defendant who, without warning, suddenly and unnecessarily used force out of all proportion to the situation he was in. That, we say, makes his punch unlawful, and an unlawful assault that causes the death of another person, even many months later, is manslaughter."

Jurors heard Mr Cox was married but separated from his wife, and was vice president of IT firm EDS, owned by Hewlett Packard. On November 22 he had been out drinking with colleagues, and they ended up in the Floridita. He and American accountant Jeffrey Starks chatted to two women, Angelica Martinez-Vargas and Jemina Luizaga, at a table near the bar. Aylmer, a keen surfer, arrived later in an overcoat and hat, and flirted with Ms Luizaga on the dancefloor, the court heard. But after he said something which offended her she rejoined the group at the table, telling them what happened. When Aylmer came over again Mr Cox told him to go away. Ms Martinez-Vargas described the IT executive as "very polite, talkative, happy, not drunk."

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Over at the Journal today you will find a story called "Awkward Spot For Citi's CEO," which details the various awkwardness encountered by Mike Corbat since he took over as Chief Executive Officer, following Vikram Pandit's awkward ousting. There is also a delightful bonus round of awkwardness that comes as a postscript to the article, but we'll get the that later. First, why are things slightly awk for Corbat? Well, for starters, he knew that Pandit was going to be unexpectedly and unceremoniously fired long before VP did, including the entire time they were on a business trip together. The whole time they were flying over there together, having dinner together, meeting with clients together, taking in shows and doing touristy things when they had downtime from the conference together, he knew Pandit was about to get hit by a truck. No one blames Corbat for Vickles getting canned but, at the same time, there is a feeling by a few at Citi that you'd have to be some kind of monster to look a person in the eye and say "Sure, a trip the the Zen Temples sounds great," and take in the cherry blossoms and drink sake and do karaoke and fight over who is Scarlett Johansson and who is Bill Murray with him all the while knowing what was going to happen when you got home. For Vikram Pandit, a trip to Tokyo for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conference last month seemed routine. But Michael Corbat, the longtime Citigroup executive who joined Mr. Pandit there, knew better. Unbeknown to Mr. Pandit, Citigroup Chairman Mike O'Neill had told Mr. Corbat that the board could seek Mr. Pandit's resignation as chief executive and hand the job to Mr. Corbat, according to people familiar with the situation. A day after Messrs. Pandit and Corbat returned to New York, that is exactly what happened. A host of financial, competitive and regulatory issues confronts the 52-year-old Mr. Corbat atop the nation's third-biggest bank by assets. But no task is more critical than soothing workers unsettled by the way the board ousted Mr. Pandit and his longtime right-hand man, John Havens, who ran the investment bank and served as president and chief operating officer. The effort is made even more delicate by Mr. Corbat's proximity to Mr. Pandit in the days before the coup. Executives say they don't blame Mr. Corbat for Mr. Pandit's overthrow, though some wondered how Mr. Corbat was able to sit through the IMF meetings knowing what was to unfold. Additionally awkward is the fact that there has been chatter around the office and scrawled on the walls of the men's room that there's only enough room in this Citi for one guy named Mike, and it's not Corbat. Adding to Mr. Corbat's challenges is the perception among some insiders that he is overshadowed by Mr. O'Neill. Employees have privately joked that of the two Mikes, it is Mr. O'Neill who is truly in charge. People close to Mr. O'Neill dispute that notion and say he has spent little time at his Citigroup office in the past month. Finally, you have the awkwardness of Mike not only knowing his colleague Vikram was going to be fired, but that his colleague and friend, John Havens, was getting the boot himself, which may or may not have caused auxiliary awkwardness for Corbat on the home front. Mr. Corbat's position is all the more awkward given his close personal relationship with Mr. Havens. The two men spent time together outside of work, occasionally vacationing with their wives at Mr. Havens' Scotland estate. All good examples of things that could be characterized as awkward to be sure. But! The absolute most wonderful bit of awkwardness to be found in "Awkward Spot For Citi's CEO," is, without question, this: