May 24, 2013
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Woman says pool cue was used in self-defense
BRENTWOOD — A woman charged with assaulting a man with a cue stick at a pool hall in downtown Portsmouth is claiming she acted in self defense.
Haley Hansler, 26, of Greenland wants to be able to tell jurors she was defending herself when she goes to trial on two counts of second-degree assault on June 25.
Hansler was charged in connection with the assault at Legend’s Billards & Tavern around 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 24.
Prosecutors said that the man she struck was so seriously injured that he needed stitches to his face and head.
The man told Portsmouth police that Hansler accused him of raping her friend several years ago.
Hansler told police the same thing, but maintains her accusation angered the victim and placed her, “in fear of her safety,” according to defense lawyer Alan Cronheim.
Hansler hit the man once he approached, “recognizing (he) was bigger and stronger than she was, reasonably feeling as if she was about to be attacked,” Cronheim wrote in court papers.
Prosecutors have not yet responded to Hansler’s claim of self defense, but if they object then a judge will decide whether the claim can be heard by a jury.
Police say that Hansler confronted the man about the alleged rape, and struck the man when he asked what she was talking about.
Hansler was being restrained by a bouncer when police arrived. The man was near the bar holding a bloodied towel to his left eye, according to court documents.
Hansler remains free on $1,000 bail. A grand jury indicted her on Oct. 4 in Rockingham County Superior Court. If Hansler is convicted, she faces up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison on each of the charges. Her trial is scheduled to begin the week of June 25.
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