Jury to decide if attack was self-defence against glassing
A JURY must decide whether a man was acting out of self-defence, or was the perpetrator of a brutal act of violence, during a drunken Christmas Eve attack.
The trial of Anton James Tamatia Smith, 32, who is charged with one count of unlawfully causing grievous bodily harm, began in Gladstone District Court on Friday.
The alleged victim, Justin Whitfield was king-hit outside the Reef Hotel at about 4am on December 24, 2011.
Crown prosecutor Susan Hedge argued that a verbal altercation broke out between Mr Whitfield and another man prior to Smith's king-hitting Whitfield, knocking him unconscious before punching him in the head several more times as Whitfield lay prone on the ground.
The incident left Mr Whitfield suffering facial fractures and requiring transportation to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital for brain surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.
However, defence barrister David Murray will rely on self-defence to acquit his client, after eyewitness Aodhan McCann described during evidence seeing Whitfield break a glass bottle and arm himself with the broken glass before turning to face Smith at the time of the incident, immediately prior to Smith's landing the punch.
After a false start on Thursday, with issues related to a member of the jury knowing a member of the accused's family, which required the entire jury to be discharged and a new jury empanelled, the trial began its first full day in earnest.
However, only two witnesses were heard on Friday, with prolonged cross-examination and legal discussion meaning the case will extend into next week.
During cross-examination, Mr McCann described seeing Smith throw a "flurry of punches" which lasted only a matter of seconds, but left the victim lying motionless on the road with blood all over his face.
Mr McCann, an experienced hospitality worker, said Whitfield looked like he was "out cold" after the first punch.
When asked by Mr Murray, Mr McCann confirmed that at the time the punch was thrown, Mr Whitfield was holding the broken bottle.
The case will resume on Monday with the Crown to call more eyewitnesses, before the jury will hear expert evidence from police and medical professionals.