– Friends of a teenager accused of fatally bashing 22-year-old David Cassai on New Year’s Eve tried to restrain him, a court heard yesterday.
Dylan John Closter, 18, allegedly broke free and chased Mr Cassai before delivering a roundhouse-style punch from which the young Templestowe man never recovered.
Mr Closter told police he lashed out after being attacked first, the Melbourne Magistrates Court, which was packed with supporters of the accused, heard.
Homicide Squad Detective Sergeant Sol Soloman said CCTV footage, which captured critical parts of the Rye melee, did not show Mr Closter being assaulted while on the ground, like he told police.
“The footage shows him falling down. It doesn’t show him being kicked or punched,” he said. Mr Closter said he had had a few swigs of Galliano before the incident, but denied allegations he walked away from the unconscious man laughing and said, “That’s what we’re here for,” the court heard.
Mr Closter was bailed yesterday on a $50,000 surety and conditions included a curfew, a ban on associating with the co-accused and thrice-weekly reporting to police.
Detective Sergeant Soloman said the footage captured the accused assaulting Mr Cassai at least three times, including the final blow to the right side of Mr Cassai’s head.
Throughout the bail application, Mr Closter – a third-year apprentice plumber from Launching Place – kept his head down, sneaking only a few quick glances at those in the courtroom.
Charged with manslaughter, affray and intentionally causing serious injury, he was denied bail last week because of concerns he would collude with a co-accused who was yet to be interviewed. On Friday the 21-year-old Western Australian man was charged with affray and two counts of intentionally causing serious injury.
A 24-year-old Kilsyth man was charged with intentionally causing injury and affray.
Defence lawyer Bernie Balmer said police had charged all relevant parties and Mr Closter should be bailed. Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said he had no choice but to bail Mr Closter, who is due to reappear in court on April 26th – Emily Portelli