A Supreme Court jury was entitled to consider that two lifelong friends involved in a fight at the accused man's Riverside home may have been taking place in a lawful fight.
Chief Justice Alan Blow made the direction today in the trial of Luke Frans Bezemer, 38, of Riverside, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to Kade William Wiffen in June 2018.
The Crown alleges he punched Mr Wiffen to the face and head and kicked him to the body.
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The jury retired to consider its verdict at 11.15am on Thursday.
The jury has heard that bad blood between the two men built up after Mr Wiffen wrote off a Mr Bezemer's Nissan Patrol in May 2018.
Mr Bezemer gave evidence that the crash caused him a loss of $80,000 because he could not get to work and because his insurance claim was rejected as a result of Mr Wiffen being drunk at the time of the crash.
Mr Wiffen said he was hit from behind by Mr Bezemer while Mr Bezemer says he was acting in self defence.
Chief Justice Blow said that the jury should consider that the men were involved in a lawful fight.
"We live in a free country where if two men want to have a fight in the privacy of their own home it is not against the law as long as not too much force is used," he said.
He said it was lawful unless more force than was consented to was used.
"It is not necessary that there be a gentlemanly handshake and an agreement that Marquis of Queensberry rules apply," he said.
He said it was a matter for the jury to consider what force was reasonable when there was no exchange of words.
The jury during the trial that Mr Wiffen's former partner, Emily Bird, rang Mr Bezemer's partner, Abigail Theobold, on the day of the incident to say that Mr Wiffen was coming around to "sort him out".
He said the jury needed to consider Mr Bezemer's state of mind at the time of the incident on what "sort out" meant.
Chief Justice Blow said the jury also needed to consider whether the force used by Mr Bezemer in his self defence was reasonable.
Mr Wiffen suffered a broken leg, fractured cheekbone, lost a tooth and facial bruising in the incident.
Chief Justice Blow said the jury could consider whether Mr Wiffen's leg was broken after walked drunkenly from Mr Bezemer's home.