Fresh twist in fatal hot chip brawl

Ivan Susin died after being struck by Ricky Lefoe.
Ivan Susin died after being struck by Ricky Lefoe.

The man found guilty of the manslaughter of a Brazilian student by a single punch during a brawl over a stolen chip is appealing his four-year sentence.

Ricky Lefoe, 32, was found guilty by a jury in February of killing Ivan Susin outside a Gold Coast kebab shop after his friend stole a hot chip from Mr Susin’s mates in September 2019.

Ivan Susin died 11 days after her was punched to the ground by Ricky Lefoe.
Ivan Susin died 11 days after her was punched to the ground by Ricky Lefoe.

Moments after a fight broke out between the two groups, the 29-year-old Brazilian student was floored by a single punch from Lefoe.

Mr Susin died 11 days after he suffered the fatal head injury caused by Lefoe.

Lefoe’s friend Shaun Simpson had stolen a chip from two of Mr Susin’s friends sitting on a nearby bench, sparking a disagreement between the two groups.

Mr Susin approached the group in an effort to help his friends and threw a punch at Mr Simpson.

CCTV footage shown during the trial depicted the moment Mr Susin threw the punch but completely missed.

It was this action that prompted Lefoe to throw the fatal punch that left Mr Susin unconscious on the ground.

Mr Susin throws a failed punch before he is knocked out by Ricky Lefoe. Picture: 9News
Mr Susin throws a failed punch before he is knocked out by Ricky Lefoe. Picture: 9News

On Wednesday, Lefoe launched his appeal in the Queensland Court of Appeal.

His barrister April Francis told the court that during the trial the prosecution had run a line of questioning that “closed off” part of her client’s defence.

Ms Francis said the jury were inadvertently asked to decide whether Mr Susin’s failed punch towards Mr Simpson showed he had some level of “self-control”, and if the jury was “satisfied” he was “acting purposefully” to protect his friend, then the provocation argument led by the prosecution could not have been found.

“The appellant (Lefoe) didn’t do what he did for the protection mechanism, it’s because he wanted Mr Simpson to win the fight,” Ms Francis said.

“The conduct of the appellant is not more serious than the conduct of the deceased. In fact, it might be less serious because it didn’t attract that element of force.

“The Crown did not go to the jury on the basis a threat (was) posed by the deceased other than the risk of grievous bodily harm.”

Court - FATAL CHIP BRAWL
Ricky Lefoe was found guilty of manslaughter in February. Picture: NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Justice Debra Mullins said she understood Ms Francis’s “argument theoretically” but after watching CCTV footage of the fight “quite a few times”, she found there was “only one answer” to the question whether there was any provocation for Lefoe’s actions and that answer was “yes”.

“Someone can join the fight deliberately because of the provocation of someone who started the fight,” Justice Mullins said.

“All of the references you’re taking us to don’t deal with provocation.”

Ms Francis said Mr Susin’s actions were “deliberate” and he hadn’t lost control when he became involved in the fight.

“This was calculated, a punch designed to extract injury,” she said.

“All of these submissions understood as a whole are putting that the deceased was behaving with intent, with deliberation and calculation and that’s not a loss of self-control.

“If the jury accepted the logic that the deceased was rational, controlled, deliberate … it loses its forensic battle.”

Mr Susin was in Australia as a student at the time of his death.
Mr Susin was in Australia as a student at the time of his death.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis said Lefoe’s original defence argument during trial did not relay the argument that “provocation or lack of provocation” was executed during the fight.

“The battlegrounds were drawn that this was a man who was aiding his friend rather than trying to defend himself,” Mr Wallis said.

“The way in which the appellant spoke about a fear to himself was raised almost as an afterthought and wasn’t pressed at the time.

“The primary focus was on the threat to Mr Simpson and the appellant’s response to that threat.

“Just because one (punch) impacted and the other didn’t changes nothing.

“There was no attempt to mutilate or deprive the jury of the relevant evidence, it was embraced.”

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision.