File photo of Todd Parnell.
File photo of Todd Parnell. Sunshine Coast Daily

Court told of king-hit victim's promising league career

WITNESSES will describe hearing a "bang", "thud" or "thump" as Wally James Hung delivered a "king hit" to a promising rugby league player at a 21st birthday celebration on Bribie Island, a Supreme Court jury has been told.

Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy told the Brisbane court Todd Parnell was a fit five-eighth who had earlier played an A grade game for the Bribie Island Warrigals.

He said Hung - who has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter - had been drinking in the club's "pig pen" and calling out "smash number six" throughout the game.

Mr McCarthy said Parnell, 23, was wearing that jersey.

He said the men, who did not get along, stayed on after the game for a joint 21st party.

Mr McCarthy said witnesses would describe seeing the men "eyeball each other", "niggling" and "play-wrestling" throughout the night at the Bongaree clubhouse

He said Mr Parnell was later "blindsided by a king hit to the side of the head".

Mr McCarthy said Mr Parnell collapsed and hit his head hard on the concrete.

He said he was knocked out and had his life support turned off two days later.

Mr McCarthy said a pathologist would tell the court Mr Parnell suffered an injury through a "rapid rotational force to the head".

He said said there was a large bruise behind Mr Parnell's ear and noted he had a 0.115% BAC two hours after the punch.

Mr McCarthy said there had been 70 to 100 people at the joint 21st party with many people seeing different things in the lead up to the punch about 2.30am on July 26, 2009.

He said many people saw Hung - also a long-time club member - deliver the blow but few saw Mr Parnell first punch Hung's friend Peter Gale, who was much smaller stature than the footballers.

Hung told police he stepped in to defend his friend and it was the movement of Mr Parnell's arm that led to the hit.

"It was just a reaction, just like everyone would do," he told police.

"I'll say (the punch) was pretty hard.

"They're all saying I've hit him from behind but I didn't, I turned him around."

Mr McCarthy said Hung told police there had not been animosity between the pair until Mr Parnell hit Mr Gale.

He said the Crown would prove the punch was not an accidental, that death was reasonably foreseeable consequence of the blow.

Defence barrister James Godbolt asked the jury to assess whether the punch was defensive and whether it was excessive.

He asked the jury to consider "why" Hung hit Mr Parnell and suggested they would conclude it was a direct reaction to Mr Parnell hitting his mate Mr Gale.

Mr Godbolt said this incident was a tragedy for everyone involved including his client who was 21 at the time, now 24.

He said the pathologist would describe Mr Parnell's cause of death as "very rare", that only "mild" force was used to cause the rotational movement that resulted in a haemorrhage at the base of his skull.

Then Bribie Island Football Club president Helen Adams told the court Mr Parnell was a junior Bronco who was "a very talented footballer".

She said he had returned to the Warrigals for a year to play with his mates but planned to return to the Broncos.

Ms Adams said she had known him for about 18 years and had also known Hung for a long time through football and schooling with her sons.

The trial continues.


EARLIER: More than 40 witnesses are expected to give evidence in a manslaughter trial involving two rugby league players on Bribie Island.

Wally James Hung is accused of unlawfully killing Bribie Island Warrigals' star five-eighth and Queensland Rugby League player Todd Parnell, 23, when one punch knocked him to the ground.

Mr Parnell and Hung had been at the Warrigals' clubhouse in Bongaree after a home game to celebrate two combined 21st birthdays in July 2009.

Mr Parnell's family switched off life support the next day.

Hung has pleaded not guilty to the offence and will now face an eight-day trial before Justice Debra Mullins.

The witnesses will come from Sunshine Coast, Bribie Island, Caboolture, Brisbane, Gladstone and as far north as Thursday Island.

A jury has been selected and the Crown is expected to open its prosecution case about 11am.

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