A footballer on parole for a violent armed robbery told police there was no malice intended when he broke the jaw of a 17-year-old during a match last year, a court was told.
William Pickett, 28, of Griffith Street, Heywood, allegedly punched then 17-year-old Sam Lambevski during a senior South West District Football League match between Heathmere and Branxholme-Wallacedale on July 28.
Footage of Pickett's police interview, which was recorded in the days after the alleged attack, was played in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Tuesday, as he contests one charge of recklessly causing injury.
In the police interview, Pickett told two detectives he was racially vilified following an "off-the-ball bump" during the final quarter.
He said he heard an array of abuse and turned around to see Lambevski running towards him.
Pickett said he believed Lambevski was going to attack him so raised his arm in self-defence.
"First things first I didn't strike him," he told police.
"(There was) no malice in it whatsoever, my only intention was to protect myself."
Lambevski, now 18, told the court the alleged attack left him with a fractured jaw and cheekbone.
He said he was unable to eat solid food for eight weeks.
Lambevski said in the lead up to the attack he observed Pickett "flatten" one of his teammates.
Believing it was a "dirty play", he said he jogged over to the accused and called him "either a dirty pr*ck or a dirty b*stard."
He denied making a racial slur.
Lambevski said Pickett turned to face him, so he slowed down and turned to the side in order to "brace for a bump".
"I don't remember what happened after that," he said.
"I next remember lying on the ground with a fuzzy head and my teeth didn't feel right... they didn't line up like they normally do."
Lambevski said he was escorted off the field by a trainer.
But, he said another scuffle emerged between a group of players from both teams.
He said he was involved in a bit of "push and shove" before being led to the interchange box, where he sat for the remainder of the match.
He said when the siren sounded, he shook hands with the Heathmere players and was taken to Hamilton Base Hospital.
The court heard from five prosecution witnesses, including Lambevski, registered nurse Peter Steff, central umpire Bradley Sharkey and two police officers.
Sharkey said he heard some commotion on the wing before noticing an unknown Branxholme-Wallacedale player on the ground.
He said he looked over to see Pickett jogging toward the ball and Lambevski running behind him.
"I could tell there was some form of verbal altercation, abuse from (Lambevski)," he said.
Sharkey said the victim approached Pickett, who stopped, turned around and struck Lambevski with part of his forearm or elbow, causing him to fall to the ground.
"I made my way straight over to Mr Pickett to inform him he was reported for striking," he said.
"He said something to the effect of 'it was just a bump'... My words were, you certainly did (strike him)".
Sharkey said Lambevski had visible signs of blood coming from the corner of his mouth and a swollen face.
The two-day contested hearing will resume on Wednesday.
Lawyer Michael Kats told the court he intended to call three witnesses.
A fourth defence witness, a spectator, was dismissed on Tuesday after she failed to abide by a court order to remain outside during the proceedings.
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