Old relationship blamed for fight

THE girlfriend of a man who died after an alleged scuffle told a court how a night out had turned sour when details of a relationship the man had once had were revealed.

Donna McKevett, 33, was the partner of Byron Bay man Mark Wallace at the time of his death on the morning of January 5, 2008.

A long-term friend, Kylie Newman, had been Mr Wallace's partner many years previously and in 2008 she was the partner of the man accused of his manslaughter, Cyrus Peri, 28, of the Gold Coast.

The four had got together in Tweed Heads on January 4, 2008, for a ‘New Year's catch-up', the jury in Lismore District Court was told.

Mr Wallace and Ms McKevett, who had been seeing each other for eight months, travelled from Byron Bay to Tweed Heads, where they planned to stay in a unit owned by Mr Wallace's father.

They were joined by Peri and Ms Newman and had spent much of the evening drinking and playing pool at the Tweed Heads Services Club, Ms McKevett said.

The mood had been happy until it was revealed to Peri that Ms Newman had had a relationship with Mr Wallace while they were in their 20s, and he became angry that Ms Newman had not told him of it, she said.

Discussion about the relationship had left them all feeling ‘frustrated', Ms McKevett said, and when they all left the club to return to the unit she was drunk, Ms McKevett said.

The Crown alleges that the two men then argued and that Peri punched Mr Wallace, knocking him to the ground and killing him.

Evidence from a Tweed Heads Hospital emergency department doctor, Kashif Izhir, said that Mr Wallace had been ‘deeply unconscious' when admitted.

His brain was bleeding from several tears to the membrane and he had a fracture at the base of his skull, Dr Izhir said.

Mr Wallace had no other injuries, he told defence counsel John Fraser.

The trial continues on Monday.

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