A young rugby league player was acting reasonably and in self-defence when he punched and knocked out "115 kilograms of muscle" at a Canberra music festival, his barrister has told a jury.
Jese Smith-Shields and Bayley Loughhead, both 22, are on trial in the ACT Supreme Court accused of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm on a man whose jaw was broken at Spilt Milk in 2018.
There was significant animosity between Mr Smith-Shields and the victim at the time, according to the Crown, because of rumours about the victim sleeping with Mr Smith-Shields' ex-girlfriend.
Both of the accused have pleaded not guilty, and their respective barristers on Tuesday urged the trial jury to acquit them.
Beth Morrisroe, representing Mr Smith-Shields, said the confrontation was sparked by the man who ultimately ended up in hospital.
She said her client did not want to fight with anyone, but was faced with an "aggressive" man who was angry about the rumours and who had consumed "a cocktail of alcohol and cocaine".
This man wanted trouble, she said, and was not subdued when pushed backwards and grabbed in a "bear hug".
Ms Morrisroe said when this "big lad" weighing 115 kilograms charged at her client, Mr Smith-Shields believed he would be seriously hurt and made a "split-second" decision to defend himself.
"What else could Jese have done, other than punch him?" she asked jurors.
Ms Morrisroe reminded the jury that while on the witness stand, Mr Smith-Shields had described his actions as "the last resort".
"He delivered a single strike and got out of there," Ms Morrisroe said.
"That is self-defence."
Ms Morrisroe also said her client's evidence made sense, while the versions of some key witnesses were "all over the place", "muddled" and "inconsistent".
Barrister Jack Pappas, appearing for Mr Loughhead, said his client could not possibly be found guilty when even the injured man had described him as having tried to "defuse the situation".
Mr Pappas said Mr Loughhead admitted pushing the man early in the piece, but only in an attempt to prevent this "aggravated" character from causing any damage to others.
He said that when the man ultimately ended up with a broken jaw, a variety of contemporaneous accounts laid the blame on Mr Smith-Shields.
Many of those talking about the incident in the immediate aftermath did not identify Mr Loughhead as an assailant, he said, or even provide a description of any person doing what Mr Loughhead was now accused of.
Mr Pappas said the evidence did not make it clear whether the injured man had ever actually been placed in a headlock.
Even if this did happen, Mr Pappas said, it was not possible to conclude that the person who applied the headlock was Mr Loughhead, or that Mr Loughhead had done this as part of "a joint criminal enterprise" to help Mr Smith-Shields inflict serious injuries.
Like Ms Morrisroe, Mr Pappas sought to cast doubt on the credibility of key witnesses.
He said the jury might find that the injured man had "tailored his evidence to look better ... or avoid embarrassment".
"If you can't trust him on one issue, can you trust him without careful scrutiny on another?" Mr Pappas asked.
The barrister also took issue with several aspects of what the injured man's girlfriend told the jury, saying her evidence had been inconsistent and presented "big flashing red lights".
The jury retired early on Tuesday afternoon to begin deliberations. If it ultimately finds the accused not guilty of the grievous bodily harm charges, it will have to return verdicts on alternative charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.