Jurors deciding the fate of the man on trial for punching former WAFL footballer Luke Adams have been urged not to "sacrifice" the accused because of the "myth" of the alleged victim.
The District Court jury is set to retire tomorrow to consider its verdict after hearing almost two weeks of evidence in the grievous bodily harm trial.
Dylan Winter, 20, claims he punched Mr Adams, 21, in self defence after the Swan Districts ruckman told him "I'm going to smash you" when their opposing groups crossed paths and started arguing at 2.30am on May 1 last year. Mr Adams' friend Travis Gray told the jury that Mr Adams had uttered to him: "come on Travvy, let's smash these c..." and agreed it was said in a menacing way.
In his closing address to the jury, defence lawyer Craig Eberhardt said what had happened to Mr Adams was a terrible shame, but the only thing worse than that was a young man being wrongfully convicted. He said the media had vilified Mr Winter for the past 18 months.
"Do not sacrifice Dylan Winter at the altar of the myth of Luke Adams," Mr Eberhardt told the jury.
He said Mr Adams' efforts since the incident in promoting an anti-violence message was "commendable" but "ironic" in the circumstances.
The states of mind of both Mr Winter, then an 18-year-old apprentice, and Mr Adams before and during their confrontation was a focus during the prosecution and defence closings.
Mr Winter, who did not take the witness stand to give evidence, told police in his video record of interview less than 24 hours after the incident that he intervened in a verbal fight between his friend Jake Ward and Mr Adams, fearing a fight was imminent and he wanted to back up his mate.
"He (Mr Adams) was big, he was drunk, he was angry, he was intent on a fight, he told Dylan Winter what he intended to do to him," Mr Eberhardt said. "One punch - it's hard to contemplate that was not a reasonable response."
Mr Eberhardt said the punch was not hard enough to leave any bruises or marks or break any bones in Mr Adams' face.
Mr Adams suffered a fractured skull and life-threatening brain injuries and was in a coma for weeks.
State prosecutor Amanda Forrester said the jury was entitled to use an earlier event that night, when Mr Winter and his group of friends fought with bouncers outside The Library nightclub and were moved on by police, to assess the accused's state of mind when he encountered Mr Adams.
She said Mr Winter was clearly angry about the clash with the bouncers, which occurred about an hour before he hit Mr Adams, and his role in the fracas showed "if his mates were in (a fight) so was he."
Ms Forrester suggested Mr Winter went to Mr Adams to tell him to back off because he thought the stranger would be easier to reason with than his friend, Mr Ward.
She said it was contrary to common sense that Mr Winter would have been anything other than menacing when he ran up to confront Mr Adams.
"(Mr Adams) was trying to ward these people off with words ... (it was) drunken bravado," Ms Forrester said.
She said when Mr Winter sent a text message to a friend later on May 1 telling her "the guy was mouthing off so he got what he deserved" he thought he had gotten away with and felt free to be honest.
"A lot of people regret what they do in the heat of a drunken moment but it doesn't make it any less of an offence," she said.
The reliability of many witnesses was put under the spotlight during closing submissions because of their conflicting versions of events.
Ms Forrester said some prosecution witnesses were vague during examination in chief but bent over backwards with information during cross-examination.
Mr Eberhardt said the prosecution could not cherry pick parts of the evidence that suited its case and ignore the big picture and that at least one witness, the head bouncer of The Library, was clearly in Mr Adams' camp.After Mr Eberhardt finishes his closing remarks, Judge Stephen Scott will summarise to the jury how to apply the relevant law.
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