UPDATE: A friend of alleged one-punch victim Luke Adams has described the 21-year-old as a “confident person” who “can sometimes be a bit of a s… stirrer” and a “joker”.
Travis Gray, took the witness stand today in the District Court trial of 20-year-old Dylan Gerald Wayne Winter.
Mr Winter has pleaded not guilty to unlawfully causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Adams, then a WAFL footballer, in the early hours of May 1 last year on Lake Street in Northbridge.
Mr Winter admits punching Mr Adams, but claims it was in self-defence after Mr Adams allegedly threatened to “smash” him.
Mr Gray, a 20-year-old who played with Mr Adams for Swan Districts, said when he and Mr Adams left The Deen around 1am, they were both “pretty drunk” and went into a pizza shop on Lake Street before continuing their walk to Capitol nightclub on Murray Street.
Mr Gray told the court that the pair had crossed at the roundabout on Lake Street and James Street before proceeding down the east side of the road, passing Mint Nightclub.
However, CCTV footage from Hogs Breath Café showed Mr Gray and Mr Adams walking down the west side of the road.
Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Craig Eberhardt, Mr Gray said he had no recollection of being on the west side of the road.
Mr Gray said that he was alerted to an argument between his friend and a man across the street when he heard Mr Adams, who was about 2m behind him, make a comment at who Mr Gray believed were two men and two women.
He described the argument as “tit for tat” which escalated. Mr Gray initially said he could not recall who started the verbal fight, but accepted he told police in a statement it was Mr Adams who made the first remark to a “couple across the street”.
Mr Gray said that he did not recall what was said during the dispute because he was not paying attention and he thought that it would just fizzle out. His first thought was trying to stop a fight developing and trying to get Mr Adams away from the situation.
He said the only thing he properly heard was when Mr Adams said to him: “Come on Travvy, let’s smash the c…s” in a tone that he described could only be heard by him.
Mr Gray admitted withholding information from police about the comment Mr Adams made until three days after the incident despite being aware of the remark’s significance.
He said at that stage his mind was “everywhere”.
“At that point in time it was basically waiting on a phone call to hear that Luke died because that’s what he had been told by the doctors,” he said.
He said he had intentionally left out the information because he did not want people to think that Mr Adams had started the fight. Mr Gray agreed with Mr Eberhardt that Mr Adams made the remark in a “menacing” way.
Mr Gray accepted he told police in one of his statements when referring to the exchange with the opposing group that “Luke does that all the time when we go out. That’s just Luke”. He explained he did not mean that Mr Adams was angry all the time.
“It’s just him (Mr Adams) being confident in himself,” he said.
“Sometimes he can be a bit of a s… stirrer … a bit of a joker.”
The apprentice electrician also admitted the first time he revealed the true reason for withholding the information from police was during a meeting with prosecutors last month.
He denied he had been involved in a “push and shove” with the other group before Mr Adams was punched.
But when asked directly by prosecution lawyer Amanda Forrester if he thought that Mr Adams had started the fight, Mr Gray said “I’m not sure who started it.”
Mr Gray said that it was only a “split second” between the time Mr Adams made the remark and when he turned to see Mr Adams falling to the ground in a “motionless” manner. He said he did not see Mr Adams being punched but saw a man a step away from his friend when he fell.
He told the court he heard Mr Adams’ head “crack” when it hit the ground and ran to his aid in an attempt to “protect him from anything ‘cause he was already out cold.”
While Mr Gray was running to his friend, he said that he was hit in the back of the head by an unknown person but did not react and continued on to Mr Adams. “I tried to wake him up but he wasn’t waking up, blood started pooling around his head,” he said.
Earlier today, jurors watched 20 CCTV footage files showing Mr Winter and his friends becoming embroiled in a physical tussle with bouncers outside The Library nightclub and police issuing them with move-on notices just after 2am - about half an hour before the incident with Mr Adams.
The footage also showed Mr Adams, who appeared unsteady on his feet, and his friends leaving The Deen and walking down Lake Street. Cameras also captured the aftermath of the alleged assault, including when an ambulance arrived.
However, State prosecutor Amanda Forrester told jurors yesterday that the camera overlooking the spot of the alleged assault was blotted out by car headlights which made it impossible to see the events.
The court was told that Mr Winter, who ran away from the scene after the alleged one-punch attack, texted a friend later that day and told her that Mr Adams was “mouthing off so he got what he deserved.”
Ms Forrester yesterday told the court that accounts from some witnesses conflicted in parts.
Yesterday, Mr Adams, who suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries when he hit his head on the ground, told the court he had virtually no memory of the night and could not remember anything about the alleged attack or the events leading up to it.
He said his last memory of that night was buying vodka from a bottle shop and the next he remembered was being in Royal Perth Hospital weeks later after being in a coma.
The trial continues.