A Canberra chef categorically denies stuffing a wad of tissues down a crying 11-month-old baby's throat, causing the infant to have a hypoxia episode and lose consciousness.
Instead, his barrister says it's entirely plausible the baby could have suffocated himself, and the man "undoubtedly saved the child's life" by resuscitating him - albeit heavy handedly.
The judge-alone trial of Luke Paul Szabo started in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday. He has pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and choking or suffocating someone.
Prosecutor Anthony Williamson said the chef faced a "circumstantial case".
While no one witnessed him forcing tissues down the baby's throat, Mr Williamson said the 11-month-old couldn't have stuffed them down himself.
He said Mr Szabo was babysitting the 11-month old, along with other children, on June 1 last year when he assaulted the crying baby.
The infant was unable to breathe, had a hypoxia episode and lost consciousness, Mr Williamson said.
A man who was a neighbour of the Canberra house where Mr Szabo was babysitting took the witness stand on Tuesday. He said another child told him on June 1 the baby had stopped breathing.
The neighbour said he wondered whether the child was exaggerating, but when he arrived at the Canberra house, "it looked very bad". Mr Szabo was on the floor resuscitating the 11-month-old.
"[The baby] was in a nappy. His eyes were bulging, his face was all discoloured," the neighbour said.
"I remember a straight line of vomit on the carpet and there was blood dripping down the side of his mouth."
The neighbour said he thought Mr Szabo was "being a little bit enthusiastic" while giving the baby mouth-to-mouth, as he was blowing with similar force you'd use to resuscitate an adult.
He said he might have suggested that Mr Szabo use chest compressions on the baby. He called triple zero and an operator guided Mr Szabo through doing chest compressions.
The neighbour said he left the room intermittently to check on the other children in the house, and his wife later told him she thought Mr Szabo was doing the chest compressions too hard.
Mr Szabo's defence barrister Margaret Jones said her client denied stuffing tissues down the infant's throat and assaulting him in any way. She said Mr Szabo found the baby in a cot already choking, and his unrelated injuries could be reasonably explained by Mr Szabo's "vigorous" resuscitation technique.
The trial continues.