It is "hardly groundbreaking" to say the key witnesses in a Canberra prison bashing case are criminals, but that does not automatically mean they have lied, a prosecutor has told a court.
A defence barrister has, however, urged a magistrate not to trust either the victim or Rhys Dugdale, the man's cellmate at the relevant time.
"You wouldn't believe anything he said," barrister Jason Moffett said of Dugdale.
"If he said night followed day, you'd look it up."
Mr Moffett was in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday representing Cedric Roberts, who is accused alongside Brendon Walters of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The pair deny being responsible for a brutal December 2018 attack on a fellow Alexander Maconochie Centre inmate, who ended up in a coma for about 17 hours.
But Dugdale has given evidence that Walters charged into the cell he shared with the victim and kicked the man in the face.
Dugdale claimed Roberts followed Walters in and the pair unleashed on the victim by, among other things, hauling him off his bed and jumping on him as he lay on the floor.
Both Roberts, 23, and Walters, 27, remain behind bars, though the younger of the pair has since been transferred to the Goulburn Correctional Centre.
Their hearing in relation to this incident began in March and finally reached the point of closing submissions on Friday afternoon.
Prosecutor James Melloy told special magistrate Jane Campbell she would have little difficulty finding there was an assault and the victim suffered actual bodily harm.
He said the key to the case was the identity of the man's assailants, adding that there was no evidence anyone other than Roberts and Walters had a motive to carry out the attack.
Mr Melloy said the victim, who has no memory of the incident, could recall having had "a verbal" with Walters about a tattoo gun earlier on the day in question.
Roberts also apparently had an interest in this object, and the pair can be seen on CCTV footage from the relevant time going into the victim's cell and emerging after a little more than two minutes.
Mr Melloy said both seemed agitated upon their exit, while various other inmates who came and went around that time looked relaxed or concerned.
He said Dugdale's evidence about what had happened in the cell was "credible and truthful", as was the victim's given his account largely comprised what Dugdale had told him.
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"This assault occurred in jail," Mr Melloy told the court.
"It's hardly groundbreaking evidence that [the victim] and Mr Dugdale are criminals.
"That doesn't mean they're lying."
He added that both men had given evidence in a "highly emotive" fashion, demonstrating their internal struggle to tell the truth despite the criminal code of silence.
But Mr Moffett, in his closing address, said the victim's evidence "doesn't help at all" because of his memory issue.
The defence barrister called Dugdale "a terrible witness", saying there were inconsistencies in his story and highlighting the man's behaviour after the attack.
Mr Moffett has previously accused Dugdale of being responsible, prompting emphatic denials.
He said on Friday that while Mr Melloy claimed Dugdale had no reason to attack his long-term best friend, fights happened in jail every day.
He also noted that Dugdale had not sought help in the aftermath, instead covering the victim with a doona and pleading with a guard to let him sleep.
Mr Moffett ultimately argued inmates other than Roberts might have perpetrated the attack, pointing out that Dugdale was alone in the cell with the victim for about six minutes before a stream of others then went in and out.
"Be suspicious [of Roberts and Walters]," he told Ms Campbell.
"Be very suspicious. But suspicion is not [proof of guilt] beyond reasonable doubt."
Defence lawyer Andrew Byrnes, acting for Walters, made similar submissions.
Ms Campbell indicated she would return verdicts on November 4.
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