Man accused of alleged king hit on Stannard claims 'instinctive' response

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A man accused of an alleged king hit on former Aussie Sevens captain James Stannard has told a Sydney court it was an ‘instinctive reaction’, giving evidence on Tuesday.

Briton Sam Oliver, 23, has pleaded not guilty to both assault occasioning bodily harm and causing grievous bodily harm.

Speaking to the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday, Oliver said his actions were an ‘instinctive’ reaction to Stannard allegedly hitting him after the former Sevens captain allegedly became ‘aggressive’.

“A man I didn’t know approached us and said here’s another Pommy c***,” he told the court.

“I remember I said something along the lines of, ‘You’re all Pommies down the line,’ just to give a bit back.

“I think when I said something back he became more aggressive f-ing and blinding.

“I told him to f*** off back. Then he got really aggressive, his whole body language changed and I was hit.

"He was aggressive before that. It was an aggressive conversation.

“I reacted pretty much straight away.

“I must’ve just instinctively tried to protect myself.

“In my view I was probably going to get beat up once I got hit and I reacted that way to get away.”

James Stannard was attacked in Coogee last month. Photo: Getty ImagesOliver said while he didn’t specifically remember Stannard punching him because he was ‘pretty smashed’, he remembered feeling contact to his face and pain after the alleged incident.

Stannard, who spoke on Monday, has denied provoking Oliver in any way.

In vision shown in court on Tuesday, Oliver told Constable Maria Gregory that night he had been hit after allegedly being involved in an argument about ‘Pommies in general’ that ‘got a bit nasty’.

The court was shown vision of a police interview later on Good Friday with Oliver saying then that he hit Stannard for ‘self-protection’ and that there was one man ‘giving him s***’ among a group.

Oliver said he had no recollection of arriving at the police station after his arrest, only recalling that interview later in the morning.

Attending ambulance officer Acacia Vormister told the court on Tuesday morning that Oliver had denied the hit when speaking after the incident.

Vormister said that Oliver had what seemed like recent bruising on his left eye but it was unclear when he had gotten the bruise.

“He denied the king hit, saying there was a fight but denied the king hit,” she said.

Stannard had denied provoking Oliver when he gave evidence on Monday and teammates Ben O’Donnell and Lewis Holland also told the court they had not heard any argument between the two men.

A statement from former Australian men’s Sevens coach Andy Friend about the incident on Tuesday.

The court had been told on Monday that Oliver ran away from the scene, chased by Stannard's teammates O'Donnell and Holland and then-men’s Sevens coach Friend, before being involved in an altercation with them.

The hearing is likely to wrap up on Wednesday, with Oliver’s working holiday visa expiring on September 21 and magistrate Richard Funston conscious of the ‘stressful nature’ of proceedings.