A JURY has been told a man wanted to teach an associate “a lesson” when he dragged him out of a unit and “belted him” in the street, the night before he died in hospital.
Crown prosecutor Lee Carr delivered his closing address in the NSW Supreme Court in Tamworth on Monday in the murder trial of Steven John Johnson.
The 39-year-old is accused of killing Kenneth Matthews on Goonoo Goonoo Rd on Friday, May 15, 2015, after a punch-up that followed a drinking session in a nearby unit.
Mr Carr told the jury several witnesses had described seeing Johnson punching and kicking Mr Matthews on the road, even witnessing him “jump on him twice”.
He said Johnson had no intention to kill Mr Matthews, but the “offence of murder is proved” because the Crown had shown Johnson wanted to inflict very serious harm.
“What he did was he sought to give him a good lesson to go on with,” he said.
“He gave him a good hiding, a good belting.
“Regrettably it caused his death.”
He told the jury Mr Matthews had been an inpatient at the hospital from May 9 to 12, 2015, and a CT scan showed no injuries on the day of his admission.
Mr Carr submitted the “trauma caused two small lacerations to the capsule surrounding the spleen” which started to bleed into the spleen, and ultimately caused his death.
“The substantial contributing factor was the trauma he suffered at the hands of the accused,” he said.
Mr Carr said “when you put all of that together, what you have is a significant attack involving violence upon the deceased".
Defence barrister Chris Taylor also started his closing address and told the jury Mr Matthews had the “capacity to feel pain at the scene” but only complained to paramedics about a head injury which was bandaged and a sling for his arm.
He said a falls risk screen at the hospital – where Mr Matthews presented the following day – was part of the admission documentation and had been left blank.
He said “there is no evidence of anybody asking the deceased” if he had fallen over.
“There is very scant accounting for the movements of the deceased,” he said about the morning after the fight.
Mr Taylor said the deceased had consumed ice, been up all night drinking and it was “reasonable to infer that we would have been unsteady on his feet” in the early hours of the Saturday morning.
“Something as simple as coming down the stairs … maybe the mechanism of injury to the spleen,” he said.
The trial continues.