A 19-year-old man has been released on bail after he was charged with assaulting NBL player Harry Froling during a night out in Wollongong.
- Nathan Mesinez has been released on bail after he was charged with assaulting NBL player Harry Froling
- Froling suffered a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain following the incident outside a popular Wollongong night club
- He remains in the hospital in a stable condition
Froling was found unconscious on a footpath outside a popular nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning after featuring for his basketball team, the Brisbane Bullets, against the Illawarra Hawks.
Nathan Mesinez turned himself into police on Tuesday afternoon and was charged with one count each of reckless grievous bodily harm and affray.
Appearing via video link in Wollongong Court today, he made an application to be released on bail.
Police facts tendered to court revealed Froling, 24, checked himself out of Wollongong Hospital and returned to Brisbane with his teammates.
He was later taken to Prince Charles Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain.
He remains in a stable condition but is expected to be in hospital for up to two weeks.
Police opposed bail for Mr Mesinez due to the seriousness of the injuries.
“It is pure luck that the injuries are not more serious than they already are,” police sergeant Kate McKinley said.
“The view of the community in relation to this type of offenses known as one-punch attacks or king hits is that the community is quite concerned about their occurrence.
“It is not uncommon for these types of offenses to result in death and many victims have previously died as a consequence of this type of attack.”
Defense lawyer calls for ‘context’
Police said CCTV footage captured the altercation on Crown Street outside Heyday nightclub around 2:30am.
They said the footage showed Froling speaking to a group of women while Mr Mesinez was sitting on the footpath.
Police the alleged accused then approached the basketballer and, after a short conversation, punched him in the face.
They claimed Mr Mesinez left the scene after Froling’s head struck the concrete pavement heavily and he remained unconscious on the ground.
Defense lawyer Caitlin Drabble told the court Froling was harassing her client’s girlfriend and friends prior to the incident.
“Mr Mesinez hears the girls say, ‘Get away from us’ and, ‘Leave us alone’,” she told the court.
Ms Drabble said her client also told Froling to leave them alone before the altercation.
“Mr Froling then says, “What are you going to do about it? Hit me?'” she said.
She told the court Mr Mesinez did not intend to seriously injure the basketballer.
“We will accept criminal responsibility for essentially an act of self-defence,” Ms Drabble said.
“But we must provide context [for] what took place during the night leading up to that.
“It was not an unprovoked attack due to bravado and stupidity … there is a further, nastier undertone to it that needs to be ventilated in the court system.”
Magistrate Greg Elks granted bail as Mr Mesinez had no previous criminal record and the alleged victim resides in Brisbane.
A curfew was imposed on the defendant, preventing him from leaving his home between 10pm and 6am.
The matter will return to court in February.