A MAN accused of murder over a road rage incident in which 56-year-old Orange man Graeme Wilton was fatally injured was involved in a similar road rage incident six months earlier, a court has heard.
Kaine Geoffrey Jones, 22, admits to throwing punches in both cases, but argues he was acting in self-defence, his counsel, defence barrister Greg Stanton told Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.
But police say Mr Jones was the aggressor and had fighting experience to back him up.
They say Mr Jones was described by his instructor as extremely proficient in the combat-style of martial arts known as Muay Thai, which he practised for four years, between 2008 and 2012.
The first incident occurred in a shopping centre car park on the Central Coast at the end of June, 2013. Mr Jones was driving his de facto partner’s Holden Commodore utility the wrong way around the car park, but when another driver protested by throwing his hands up in the air, Mr Jones allegedly threw a can of soft drink at him.
Both men stepped out of their cars and Mr Jones allegedly punched the other man twice in the head, causing injuries which later required dental work to re-align the man’s teeth.
Mr Jones was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Six months later on December 12, 2013, Mr Jones was doing some work on the same Holden Commodore utility when he decided to test out the tyres and started driving east along Griffith Street, Mannering Park.
He crossed paths with Mr Wilton who was out taking a walk. He had checked into a Mannering Park caravan park with his wife Marlene a few days earlier.
According to police, residents of Griffiths Street heard the car come to a screeching halt, and saw the ute stopped, with an older man hitting the bonnet with the palms of his hands. They allege the older man threw his hands into the air and walked along the driver’s side of the car, speaking in the direction of the driver, when Mr Jones got out and punched Mr Wilton to the head, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the bitumen.
Mr Jones allegedly then did a burnout within metres of the unconscious man and took off at speed.
Another witness said they saw Mr Jones throw the first punch, but that an exchange of punches followed before Mr Wilton fell to the ground.
Mr Wilton regained consciousness and was taken to Wyong Hospital, before being transferred to Royal North Shore’s intensive care unit where he was placed in an induced coma and underwent two surgeries to reduce the swelling on his brain. He died on February 10.
The details of the allegations emerged during a bail application which was granted on the condition that Mr Jones not drive a vehicle, live with his mother at Bluehaven and not leave the house without her, and report daily to Tuggerah Police.
No formal pleas have been entered with some evidence still outstanding and a cross-examination of some witnesses by defence counsel likely before the matter proceeds. The court heard that a trial was not likely until at least March next year.