Injury a concern to doctors

A JURY has been told a Tamworth man suffered an extremely severe traumatic brain injury when his head hit the ground after an alleged one-punch attack.

Tamworth District Court heard yesterday as a result of the November 8 incident, 37-year-old Curtis Ah Shay had been left with physical immobility and had injuries similar to a stroke victim, and was still receiving rehabilitation. 

Twenty-year-old Jack Stevenson is standing trial after pleading not guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm during the alleged altercation in Peel St last year.

Tamworth hospital’s Michael O’Flynn said Mr Ah Shay was deeply comatosed when he arrived that night, which was “indicative of there being pressure in the brain.”

The court heard doctors were concerned about the activity in the fractured skull, causing the swelling.

“... enough to squeeze the brain out of the cavity trying to hold it,” Dr O’Flynn told the court, before adding Mr Ah Shay was airlifted to a Newcastle hospital.

A second eye witness to the alleged attack, who was drinking with Stevenson before the incident, also took the stand yesterday.

The court was told Nicholas Walters and Stevenson went to school together, but it was an unplanned meeting at the Courthouse Hotel on the night.

The jury heard there was an exchange between Mr Walters and Mr Ah Shay in the pool room of the hotel earlier in the night.

“So he threatened you,” the crown prosecutor asked.

“Yeah,” Mr Walters replied.

Mr Walters said Mr Ah Shay had been sticking his fingers up at him from outside the hotel, so he went out to “see why he’s doing it and what his problem was”. 

Mr Walters said after he walked up to him, Mr Ah Shay said “you’ve been picking on me all night,” before another witness told Mr Walters not to touch him.

“They argued a bit and then it happened,” Mr Walters recalled of Stevenson and Mr Ah Shay.

When quizzed by defence solicitor Jason Curtis, Mr Walters rejected suggestions he was fired up and was looking to have a crack at Mr Ah Shay.

But Mr Curtis pressed the issue, suggesting he was prepared to have a fight inside the toilet earlier that night.

“Yeah, but I didn’t,” Mr Walters said.

Mr Walters told the court he thought Stevenson hit the victim in the chest, and the events all happened pretty fast.

“You don’t have the clearest of memories ...” Mr Curtis said.

“No I don’t,” Mr Walters interjected.

Mr Walters said he couldn’t remember any pushing between Stevenson and Ah Shay. “I just remember him hitting the ground and that was it,” he said.

‘I heard a thud’ witnesses say

A NUMBER of witnesses from across the road have described seeing the accused, Jack Stevenson, walk up and allegedly hit the victim, Curtis Ah Shay, before hearing a “thud”.

Security guard Roman Jurd said he saw a man in a red T-shirt gesturing for someone to come out of the Courthouse Hotel before a group looked like they were trying to calm him down.

“I saw him (Stevenson) run up to the crowd and punch the guy in the red,” he told Tamworth District Court.

“He fell backwards and thumped on the ground.

“You could hear the noise of his body hitting the ground.”

Mr Jurd said Stevenson wasn’t walking, and when asked if he remembered seeing any pushing or shoving between the accused and the victim, Mr Jurd said “no.”

Similarly, Albert Hotel floor manager Baldev Singh said he recognished Stevenson that night but there was no pushing or shoving between him and Mr Ah Shay.

“After two seconds he just king-hit him,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh alerted his boss, but never left the door of his hotel, only watching from across the street.

Another Albert floor manager, Llewellyn Sankey, recalled Stevenson “walked towards the guy in the red shirt and hit him”.

“His arms went up and he hit the ground,” adding he heard a thud on the ground before he alerted the licensee and went across the road.

Defence solicitor Jason Curtis suggested Mr Sankey didn’t actually see a hit before he conceded he didn’t know where Mr Ah Shay had been hit, like he had told police.

“You expect the jury to believe you were 60 to 80 metres away and you heard a thud,” Mr Curtis asked.

“I heard a thud,” Mr Sankey replied.

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