Man to stand trial over chip fight that killed backpacker
A SYDNEY man accused of punching a Brazilian tourist who later died following a fight in Surfers Paradise over a stolen chip will stand trial.
Lawyers for Ricky Lefoe argued the Sydneysider should not go to trial as he was not to blame because he was trying to defend a friend they allege was being attacked by Brazilian backpacker Ivan Susin.
Lefoe, who appeared in Southport Magistrates Court via telephone yesterday, has not entered a plea to a single charge of unlawful striking causing death.
The 27-year-old was out in Surfers Paradise when he allegedly struck Ivan Susin in the neck or chest area outside a kebab shop in the early hours of October 1 last year.
It is alleged Lefoe's friend, Shaun Simpson, had stolen a chip from a friend of Mr Susin, leading to a fight between Mr Simpson and the man.
CCTV footage played to the court yesterday appears to show Mr Susin striking out towards Mr Simpson's head while he is on the ground fighting with Mr Susin's friend.
Lefoe then grabs Mr Susin and strikes him in the neck or chest area, the footage shows, with Mr Susin falling back and hitting his head on the concrete path.
The 29-year-old died in hospital 11 days later.
Defence barrister Saul Holt, instructed by Moloney MacCallum Abdelshahied Lawyers, showed the CCTV footage and said it was clear there was a punch thrown by Mr Susin toward the chip thief.
"What we see is a forceful blow," he said.
Mr Holt said it was not clear from the CCTV footage whether Mr Susin's punch connected with Mr Simpson.
"What matters is that it's a blow of force," he said.
Mr Holt said it was not until then that Lefoe stepped in, grabbing Mr Susin and striking him in the neck and chest area.
"The response if very much a reactive response, it's very much 'you are punching someone in the head who is on the ground and I am getting you away'," he said.
Mr Holt said Lefoe's response was proportionate to Mr Susin's actions.
Prosecutor Caitlin Usher said the CCTV was not clear cut.
"There are different interpretations of the offence and it should be considered by a jury," she said.
Ms Usher said police had statements from 23 witnesses.
Mr Simpson has declined to give a statement to police.
Ms Usher told the court the blow that Lefoe delivered was not necessary or proportionate to the strike by Mr Susin.
Magistrate Mark Howden said he found there was enough evidence for Lefoe to be put on trial and the matter be decided by a jury.
He said witnesses had described Mr Simpson as large and muscly.
Lefoe will remain on bail and will face trial in the Supreme Court in coming months.
Originally published as Man to stand trial over chip fight which led to death