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Former Rabbitohs captain says he's not guilty of fatal punch

Craig Field (right), appeared at the Lismore Supreme Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty to killing Tweed cattle farmer Kelvin Kane with a king hit at Kingscliff.
Craig Field (right), appeared at the Lismore Supreme Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty to killing Tweed cattle farmer Kelvin Kane with a king hit at Kingscliff. Cathy Adams

FORMER NRL star Craig Field was described as "the peacemaker" in an alleged king-hit incident outside the Kingscliff Beach Hotel in 2012 that resulted in the death of Kelvin Kane, a court has heard.

The first day of what is expected to be a three-week murder trial for the former South Sydney captain and Manly five-eighth began yesterday before Justice Elizabeth Fullerton at Lismore Supreme Court.

Field, 41, stands accused of, on the evening of July 15, delivering a fatal blow to the 50-year-old cattle farmer's right temple, resulting in his death.

"I'm not guilty," Field said following his indictment yesterday morning.

In his opening address, Crown Prosecutor Lee Carr told the jury 24 witnesses would be called in the trial including paramedics, doctors, hotel employees, neighbours of the hotel and friends of Mr Kane.

The jury heard Field and friend Shaun Fathers arrived at the hotel at 11.30am to watch an Anthony Mundine boxing fight on Foxtel.

Mr Carr alleged that within two hours of Mr Kane arriving at the hotel about 7pm, Field delivered the fatal blow, after a dispute between Fathers and Mr Kane escalated.

CCTV footage from the hotel and photos will be presented to the jury to illustrate the ongoing tension between Field, Fathers and Mr Kane's group of friends.

Mr Carr said forensic pathologist Dr Allan Cala would present post-mortem results showing Mr Kane sustained a blunt force injury to the head, consistent with a punch.

Field's barrister Tony Bellanto QC said his client denied both "the very serious charge of murder and complete denial of manslaughter" and he would attempt to disprove prosecution allegations his client threw the fatal punch.

"Was Mr Kane punched by another person, and not Mr Field, moments before he fell to the ground?

"Was Mr Field drawn into the situation as a peacemaker?"

Lismore crime scene officer Nicole Hill described the rear carpark where the incident allegedly took place as "poorly lit" when she arrived at the hotel at 12.55am on July 16.

Senior Constable Hill said she took 26 photos of the scene, then of Field and Fathers at Tweed police station and didn't notice any injuries on the hands of either man.

Detective Senior Constable Phillip Parker then presented a 3D walkthrough of the hotel, which has been extensively renovated since the alleged incident.

Justice Fullerton granted Field revised conditional bail to reside at Bilambil Heights with former NRL player Tony Rampling for the duration of the trial. She ordered Field not to attend any licensed premises.

Topics:  coward punch, craig field, editors picks, king hit, murder




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