Murder committal hears of fatal fight

A MAN accused of bashing another man to death in a Gatton pub has been committed to stand trial for murder.

Christopher James Earel, 27, is charged with killing Laurence Shane Black, 46, during a bar fight at The Imperial Hotel on Railway St on October 28 last year.

During a committal hearing at Ipswich Magistrates Court yesterday, multiple witnesses were cross examined by the prosecution and Earel's defence.

The court heard the men were not known to each other but had both been at the Historic Motorcycle Club of Queensland's Gatton Swap Meet during the day.

Revellers gathered at the pub for the evening and the altercation broke out about 11pm.

An autopsy revealed Mr Black, from The Gap, died after two arteries in his neck snapped by a blow to the head and blood leaked into the base of his brain.

The doctor who conducted the autopsy said due to Mr Black's high level of intoxication his muscles would have been more susceptible to tearing which severed the arteries to the brain and resulted in his death.

The doctor said the injuries could only have been sustained by a strike to the head and "not as a result of falling to the ground".

The court was not told if there was a reason for the fight, however the defence repeatedly asked witnesses if they had heard someone yell out "wog" or "faggot" before the fight.

All witnesses replied they hadn't heard anyone yell those words however most said the bar was noisy and crowded.

A man who had been drinking with Earel and at least two other people said he had seen two men at the bar point at their table. The man told the court he looked back at the dance floor because he "didn't want trouble".

A witness said she was standing near the men during the fight and saw one man throwing "upper cut" punches to the other man's face and head in "quick succession".

In a statement tendered to the court, one witness said she had seen Mr Black standing at the bar for about 10 minutes before the fight broke out, and said "he was pretty quiet" before it.

A female witness told the court "that man", while she pointed at Earel in the dock, had pulled Mr Black away from the bar and saw him throw his whole body into him but didn't see the pair connect.

Another witness said she saw two men "wrestling" but it was only "the other man" that was throwing punches at the victim, who was not fighting back.

One witness said she saw the deceased man lying on the ground while "another man" continued to kick him "fairly forcefully".

Two witnesses said when they saw the deceased lying on the ground he didn't have a shirt on.

Magistrate Virginia Sturgess committed Earel to stand trial at The Supreme Court in Brisbane on a date to be fixed.



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