'No coward punch': Magistrate grants Sibley bail

WELLINGTON magistrate Terry Lucas on Tuesday granted bail to a man accused of critically injuring 19-year-old Tom Brown, rejecting the prosecution's claim the case revolves around "a coward punch".

Karl Sibley, 20, fronted Wellington Local Court facing charges of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Brown, who is in a critical condition at Westmead Hospital.

Sibley had previously appeared in Orange Local Court on Monday, where his solicitor Matthew Savage requested and was granted Tuesday's bail hearing in Wellington.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Martin Rollestone said his department opposed bail, arguing this was a serious a ‘one-punch’ case.

But Magistrate Lucas interrupted the prosecutor, saying the matter in his court was based on the facts alone and was only in relation to the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

"I am dealing with this case on its facts. This is not a king punch, a one punch, a coward punch,’’ the magistrate said.

"The facts alleged in this case are yet to be proven"

Mr Lucas also noted Sibley, who remained silent during the 20-minute proceedings, had written a letter to Mr Brown's family, apologising for his actions on Saturday night.

"I don’t remember, but I am told I hurt your son," part of the letter was quoted as saying.

The police prosecutor said there were concerns for the protection of the community.

"This is because of the serious nature of this offence and his capacity to stay in the area," Sgt Rollestone said.

"The community deserves to be protected by those who offend in matters concerning the consumption of alcohol.’’

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Shaun Mortimer of the Aboriginal Legal Aid Service said Sibley had ties with the local area and his family would ensure his security

"The family is here and have offered $10,000 surety," Mr Mortimer argued, while also citing Sibley's recent engagement and employment history as reasons for his reliability.

"His record is of no concern."

In granting strict bail conditions the magistrate said the facts represented a strong prosecution case.

"I stress this is a very serious case with a lot of media attention. There is the likelihood of a custodial penalty,’’ he said.

"I look toward his community ties, they are strong. A $10,000 cash surety has been offered. Bail will be granted."

The magistrate told Sibley he would have to refrain from drinking alcohol, taking any form of drugs or entering licensed venues over the course of his bail.

He would also have to report to the Cumnock Police Station every day, as well as refrain from approaching any crown witnesses.

Failure to comply with any of these will see his bail revoked.

Sibley will appear in Orange Local Court on February 13.

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