The West

Teens chased man before fall, court told
Tauri Litchfield. Picture: Supplied

A Mandurah man had been punched to the ground by a teenager and was being chased by a group of six youths when he fell from a ledge and died, a court was told this afternoon.

Opening the prosecution case against the six teenagers in the Perth Children's Court, lawyer Amanda Forrester said Tauri Litchfield had been threatened and intimidated before tripping or falling over the brick wall on March 17 last year.

Each of the six teenagers accused of pursuing Mr Litchfield have pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

The teenagers, who are not identified for legal reasons, are facing a scheduled four-week trial before Children's Court president Judge Denis Reynolds.

Ms Forrester told the court that Mr Litchfield had attended the Crab Fest and then went to the Brighton Hotel on the afternoon before his death.

She said Mr Litchfield was clearly intoxicated and had an argument with his partner about whether he could drive before becoming separated from his group.

Mr Litchfield was captured on various closed circuit television cameras, but his exact movements for the following hour were not known.

Ms Forrester said some time after 7pm, Mr Litchfield came into contact with the group of teenagers on Pinjarra Road.

She said the group circled him and the youngest of the boys, who had turned 14 a week before the alleged murder, was slapped on the back of the head by Mr Litchfield, who believed the boy had touched his back pocket or attempted to take his wallet.

Ms Forrester said the boy then punched Mr Litchfield to the ground and kicked him more than once before he got to his feet and fled.

She said the teenagers were trying to herd Mr Litchfield, who had run on to the road, back to the footpath.

Ms Forrester said it was alleged that all six boys had been pursuing Mr Litchfield when he fell over a wall about four bricks high which had a bigger drop of about one metre on the other side.

He struck his head on the bitumen, suffering a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury and died later in hospital.

Earlier today, lawyer Beau Hanbury said his 16-year-old client's defence case would include allegations that Mr Litchfield was in a drunken, angry state and "looking for trouble" when he came into contact with the group of accused teenagers.

Mr Hanbury said Mr Litchfield had been involved in an earlier altercation with two older men at the Brighton Hotel and was in an agitated and aggressive state.

He said one of the teenagers had either asked for a cigarette or attempted to pinch Mr Litchfield's phone, prompting him to clip one of the accused across the ear.

Mr Hanbury said in response to the alleged assault on one of the children, that boy had then knocked Mr Litchfield to the ground.

He said Mr Litchfield had then run away and fallen over a small ledge, hitting his head and sustaining a sever fracture.

Mr Hanbury's application to adjourn the trial on the ground that two witnesses who could give evidence about Mr Litchfield's earlier behaviour would not be called was refused.

The West Australian

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