– A teen accused of fatally punching a 22-year-old man in Rye on New Year’s Eve yesterday faced a courtroom crowded with the dead man’s family and friends.
David Cassai’s mother and two sisters, and several dozen relatives and mates, stared at Dylan John Closter as he entered court.
Mr Closter, 18, is charged with affray and manslaughter.
Tyrone Russell, 21, and Thomas McCluskey, 25 – who are charged over the fight but not Mr Cassai’s death – also faced court beside Mr Closter.
Melbourne Magistrates Court heard there was strong evidence, including CCTV footage, that the accused men and their friends had been the aggressors in a brawl about 1am on December 31st.
Mr Closter is accused of punching Mr Cassai to the head, causing him to fall and strike his head on the footpath.
Mr Cassai, of Templestowe, was flown to The Alfred Hospital but died later that day from head injuries.
Prosecutor Luke Exell said a committal hearing, at which the prosecution evidence would be tested, should be set down for as early as possible, for reasons of public policy and out of concern for the Cassai family.
Mr Closter’s lawyer, Michael McGrath, asked that the committal be delayed, saying he and a key witness were unavailable on a proposed hearing date.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Dan Muling set the hearing for August 5th, and said Mr Closter’s counsel could either make himself available or arrange for his client to get another lawyer.
At least 18 witnesses are due to be called to be cross-examined during the three-week committal hearing.
Mr Russell, from Western Australia, and Mr McCluskey, of Kilsyth, face charges of affray and intentionally causing injury.
Mr Closter – a third-year apprentice plumber from Launching Place – kept his head down during yesterday’s hearing.
At a previous hearing, the court was told CCTV footage showed that friends of Mr Closter tried to restrain him moments before he struck Mr Cassai.
The Homicide Squad’s Detective Sergeant Sol Solomon told a bail hearing in January that Mr Closter delivered a roundhouse-style punch to the right side of Mr Cassai’s head.
Members of Mr Cassai’s family cried after yesterday’s hearing and linked arms as they walked from the court.
The bail of all three accused men was extended – Emily Portelli


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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