The closing arguments in the murder trial of former rugby league star Craig Field will be laid out to the jury in Lismore today.
The former South Sydney Rabbitohs captain has pleaded not guilty in the Lismore Supreme Court to the murder of Kelvin Kane, 51, at the Kingscliff Hotel in July 2012.
Field told the court on Tuesday that he threw a punch that connected with the right side of Kane’s head because he was scared of being hit himself.
‘Out of fear I threw a punch to the right side of his head,’ Field told the court.
‘As soon as my hand hit him, he fell straight down.
‘He just sort of dropped to his knee (and) he was down, he was on his back.
‘I shit myself a little bit … I could see that he was bleeding. I thought I’d hurt the guy because he fell down straight away.
“I didn’t want to hurt him, I didn’t want to fight anyone.
‘I wasn’t there at the pub to fight anyone at any stage.’
The prosecution has alleged the blunt force of that blow was enough to cause a fatal brain haemorrhage.
But the defence has told the court Mr Kane was punched by another man, Shaun Fathers, just seconds earlier.
Dr Allan Cala, the forensic pathologist who did the autopsy, had earlier told the court that Mr Kane suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) caused by a blunt force head injury to the lower left side of his face.
‘The main injury was an area of bleeding around the left side of the neck near the mandible (jaw bone) in an area of about 150mm by 90mm that spread around various muscles under the skin,’ he said.
Once this trauma was sustained, Dr Cala said the trauma from the injury could have caused Mr Kane’s head to rotate rapidly left or right, stretching or tearing arteries causing a basil subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Dr Cala said Mr Kane could have remained on his feet, capable of movement, for up to 10 seconds after the blow to his lower left jaw was delivered.
This could have given time for Field to throw a blow to the right temple as witnesses have recalled.
‘It’s quite clear that the blow to the left side of the jaw was the initiating cause of death?’ Field’s barrister Mr Tony Bellanto asked Dr Cala.
‘Yes,’ he replied.
Professor John Hilton, a forensics expert, told the court on Tuesday he had seen similar cases where victims kept functioning for almost a minute before collapsing.
The trial continues.