Simon Cramp, recovering at his parents' home. Photo: Adam McLean
A young Sydney man who punched a stranger so hard the victim required life-saving brain surgery admits he behaved disgracefully, but says he had never intended to cause injuries more severe than a black eye or a bloody nose.
The Downing Centre District Court heard on Monday that Daniel Angelos, 24, was walking down George Street in the Sydney CBD with his mates last June when he attacked Simon Cramp, 26, who was walking the other way with two friends.
Crown prosecutor Sara Bowers told the opening of Mr Angelos' trial that one of these blows connected with Mr Cramp's jaw near his chin, sending him falling, unconscious, to the ground.
"[Simon Cramp's friend] Mitchell Gardiner saw Simon Cramp's head hit the pavement," Ms Bowers said.
"It hit the ground and bounced back off the ground and back on to the concrete pavement. It sounded like a thud but louder."
Another of Mr Cramp's friends, Laura Symes is expected to give evidence that, when she ran over to help the stricken man, blood was coming from one of his ears.
The court heard that, not long after Mr Angelos walked from the scene, Mr Cramp was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital where he had emergency surgery to ease the swelling caused by bleeding on the brain.
He made a "remarkable recovery" and will give evidence at the trial, although his memory of what happened is patchy.
Mr Angelos was subsequently charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
“The Crown case is that, when you look at all of the things the accused did – the multiple punches, there is no other reasonable explanation other than that he intended to cause grievous bodily harm,” Ms Bowers said.
Mr Angelos admits he threw the punch that resulted in Mr Cramp suffering very serious injuries, but says he did not intend to cause grievous bodily harm.
Rather, he has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of causing grievous bodily harm while being “reckless as to causing actual bodily harm”.
"My client agrees that he conducted himself in this disgraceful way," his barrister, Brian Murray, told the jury in his opening address.
“[But] he intended only to cause actual bodily harm.
“He was reckless in his conduct … as to causing actual bodily harm in the form of a black eye … a bloody nose … or a split lip.”
Both sides agreed that Mr Angelos' intention at the time of the assault was the central question in the trial.
Before the start of the trial Judge Andrew Haesler told the jury to put aside anything they had read in the media about king hit or "so-called one-punch" attacks.
"Matters such as the present allegation often result in an emotional response. It's clear that Mr Cramp suffered serious injuries," Judge Haesler said.
"But your job is to decide the facts on the basis of a calm and rational evaluation of the evidence."
The trial continues.