A St Helens man has pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm to another man in an early morning punchup at O'Keefe's Hotel in Launceston.
Kurt Anthony Lowe, 34, pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Jason Vivian Stewart about 1.35am on August 11, 2019.
The Crown alleges Mr Lowe punched Mr Stewart to the face and body a number of times causing a fractured eye socket, a laceration to the eyelid and a ruptured tear duct.
Defence counsel Grant Tucker said Mr Lowe's actions were in self-defence.
"It is the defence case that Mr Stewart was the aggressor," he said.
In an opening address, Crown prosecutor Luke Ogden said the issues in the Supreme Court trial were whether Mr Lowe was acting in lawful self-defence and if the amount of force used was reasonable in the circumstances.
The jury heard that members of the Lowe family gathered at O'Keefe's for farewell drinks for Mr Lowe.
Mr Stewart gave evidence that he heard a "smart arse comment" when he was having a smoke with his friend Peter Dickenson.
He said that about two hours later he was in the bar when he heard some noise and a man's voice say "I'm going to smash your face in". He said that a member of Mr Lowe's party had tried to settle things saying "just ignore him".
Mr Stewart said he walked over and put out his hand to shake hands saying "I'm not here for any trouble".
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He said the next thing he felt a punch to the side of the head. "I was lying on the floor and my face getting punched. "I just felt blow after blow."
He was taken to the LGH by ambulance and underwent surgery. Mr Tucker cross-examined him asking whether he remembered recording a reading of 0.272 in the ambulance. "I don't recall that, no," he said.
"On this night you were extremely intoxicated?" Mr Tucker asked. "I don't know how to answer that," he said.
"Yes or no would help," Mr Tucker said. "I don't think I was," Mr Stewart replied.
Mr Tucker suggested that Mr Stewart had reconstructed events to put himself in the best light.
"You can suggest all you like," he replied.
Mr Tucker suggested that Mr Stewart had been staring at him [Mr Lowe] and mouthing things. "No," Mr Stewart said.
"You went over to him to have a crack and got into an altercation," Mr Tucker asked.
"No," Mr Stewart said.
Dickenson gave evidence that the person Mr Stewart shook hands with started punching him to the head.
"Another one moved over and I thought he was going to break it up but he started punching too.
"I was set upon and put on the floor." He saw Mr Stewart with a big split eye and blood pouring out of his face.
The trial before Justice Stephen Estcourt is expected to take three to four days
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