The West

A Morley father accused of headbutting another parent who remonstrated with him for swearing at a young footballer during a junior AFL match acted in self-defence and felt he was still "open to attack", his defence lawyer told a Perth court today.

James Frederick Wilkes, 40, is fighting a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm in Perth Magistrate's Court.

His lawyer Abigail Rogers argued that the headbutt was not an unlawful assault and was the only way her client could defend himself while being restrained.

Mr Wilkes allegedly headbutted Steven O'Halloran, 46, after a brief scuffle during their sons' Bayswater-Morley under-12s game against Coolbinia Bombers at Houghton Reserve in Bayswater on May 22 last year.

Mr O'Halloran said he had approached Mr Wilkes to ask him to stop swearing at an opposition player during the last quarter, that Mr Wilkes became aggressive and they wrestled before other parents intervened.

In his closing arguments on the last day of a two-day trial, prosecutor John Prior said the majority of evidence indicated the scuffle was over when Mr O'Halloran was headbutted and rejected claims of self-defence or the assault being committed in the "heat of the moment".

"The headbutt was totally over-the-top, totally unnecessary, not a reasonable action and totally unlawful in the circumstances," Mr Prior said.

Mr Prior said Mr Wilkes was the only man restrained and Mr O'Halloran had only tried to defend himself.

In her closing address, Ms Rogers argued the scuffle between Mr Wilkes and Mr O'Halloran was continuing when the headbutt occurred and that Mr Wilkes had no other option but to lean his head forward while being restrained when Mr O'Halloran lunged towards him.

Mr Wilkes' partner of 17 years Julie Anne Irvine gave evidence yesterday and said she witnessed the incident from about 20m away and admitted Mr Wilkes did headbutt Mr O'Halloran.

But she said Mr O'Halloran had shouldered Mr Wilkes in the chest, grabbed him around the waist and starting punching him, forcing the accused man to defend himself.

She said Mr O'Halloran had come at Mr Wilkes in a "threatening way" just before the headbutt.

Magistrate Geoff Lawrence will hand down his verdict tomorrow morning.

The West Australian

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