A bus driver who punched a man once during an argument at a Wellington hotel left him with a fractured skull and a brain bleed.
Afele Talitua, 36, of Auckland, has pleaded not guilty to wounding Brett Dunn with intent to injure him on August 14, 2011.
Crown prosecutor Andrea Ewing told a Wellington District Court jury that Talitua punched Mr Dunn because he irritated him.
The two men were part of a annual netball and rugby tournament between Wellington and Auckland bus drivers.
Mr Dunn was a lifetime member of the group but was not playing that weekend.
Ms Ewing said the group had returned to the Intercontinental hotel after the day's games.
They and others were drinking in a private lounge set aside for the group when they began arguing over who would look after a drunk woman who had fallen asleep.
''The complainant took off his glasses and walked toward the accused, one witness recalls pushing but most people did not notice what was going on. He then punched Mr Dunn in the face and he fell to the ground on his back unconscious bleeding from the ears and nose,'' she said.
Mr Dunn was taken to hospital with internal bleeding to his brain and a skull fracture and now remembered nothing about the weekend.
She said Talitua had walked out of the hotel after the punch.
He spoke to police after going to the police station the next day where he said Mr Dunn had punched him in the shoulder and he had tried to defend himself.
Talitua's lawyer Liz Hall said Talitua punched Mr Dunn because he was punched first and not because he was irritated.
''He was in that split second we have in those situations and he punched him back.''
She said not only was it self-defence but he never intended to injure Mr Dunn.
- The Dominion Post
Is New Zealand's airport security stringent enough?Related story: Risky objects bypass Wellington Airport security