Former particular forces soldier Heston Russell has denied drunkenly punching a person at an inside Sydney pool occasion, saying he was riled by a derogatory remark about veterans’ suicides, a court has heard.
Mr Russell, 38, on Thursday confronted Sydney’s Downing Centre Native Court the place he’s battling allegations he punched the person throughout a heated incident at a Woolloomooloo premises on January 2 final yr.
Mr Russell, a one-time Senate candidate and veterans’ advocate, has pleaded not responsible to 1 rely of frequent assault.
After attending a yacht occasion on Sydney Harbour, a gaggle of individuals – together with Mr Russell – moved to the Cowper Wharf Street handle for a rooftop pool occasion.
It’s there Mr Russell is alleged to have struck his alleged sufferer and fellow partygoer Steven Pate on the face.
Throughout his proof earlier within the yr, Mr Pate advised the court Mr Russell threatened him by saying: “Do you wish to take me on? I’ll throw you over the balcony’.”
LISTEN to the brand new podcast
Court within the Act
Contained in the courtroom with Tim Clarke.
Discover out extra
He additionally mentioned that after asking Mr Russell to go away he was hit “out of nowhere”.
Earlier within the yr Mr Pate advised the court that he was standing poolside with two associates – a pair he had met earlier that day – when Mr Russell got here up behind them and commenced kissing the neck and touching the chest of one of many males, which prompted the altercation.
Nonetheless, Mr Russell, throughout his proof on Thursday, advised the court that as he approached the group, he was met with a requirement to “f*** off” and different derogatory feedback.
He mentioned he had earlier kissed one of many males on the boat occasion, in addition to on the pool.
He mentioned he was solely then knowledgeable the person had a boyfriend and was advised “you may’t pressure your self onto folks”.
Mr Russell mentioned the argument turned heated and he was additionally advised: “Nobody offers a f*** about you and your veteran mates killing your self.”
Nonetheless, two males who have been within the group, advised the court on Thursday they denied overhearing that remark.
Mr Russell mentioned that he was concerned in a push-and-shove however at no level did he throw a punch.
“Completely not and we have been that shut you wouldn’t have been capable of throw a punch,” Mr Russell mentioned.
Below questioning from his solicitor Michael Bowe, he agreed that he advised the lads: “When you hold coming, I’ll throw you off the balcony.”
However he mentioned that was as a result of a number of males from the opposite group have been advancing on him.
“It wasn’t a dying risk,” Mr Russell mentioned, as he conceded it was the unsuitable factor to say.
Below cross examination from police prosecutor Alex Borg, he additionally agreed he known as the host of the pool occasion a number of days later, asking him what had occurred.
Mr Russell mentioned that was as a result of he noticed a newspaper story concerning the alleged assault and needed an “goal” model of occasions.
Witness Christopher Hicks on Thursday advised the court that he was within the group of males concerned within the altercation.
Mr Hicks mentioned that after Mr Pate requested Mr Russell to go away, Mr Russell threatened to throw him off a balcony.
“I recall Mr Russell punching Mr Pate within the head with a proper hand,” Mr Hicks advised the court.
Mr Hicks’ accomplice, Nathan Johnston, mentioned he known as two associates over because the argument turned heated.
He mentioned he noticed an arm transfer throughout his face from Mr Russell’s course, however couldn’t verify whether or not it was a punch or not.
“Because it occurred, an arm has are available in entrance of my face throughout me and I turned my head to comply with that,” Mr Johnston mentioned.
“And once I regarded over Stevie was holding someplace on his face. And I believe he mentioned one thing like ‘did you simply hit me?’”
Justice of the Peace Margaret Quinn will ship her judgment at a later date.
Earlier this yr Mr Russell efficiently sued the ABC for defamation and was awarded greater than $400,000 in damages.