A MAN who allegedly punched his mate in the jaw during a drunken argument in Newcastle in January, causing him to go “stiff as a board” and crack his head on the concrete, has had his charges upgraded to manslaughter after the man died in hospital on Wednesday.
Shane Holmes, 44, of Woodberry, appeared in Newcastle Local Court in handcuffs on Friday after he was arrested on Thursday and charged with manslaughter over the death of his old school friend, Chad Hadden.
The pair, who lost contact around the age of 20, got back in touch about a month before Mr Hadden was allegedly punched outside the Queens Wharf Brewery on January 14 this year.
The two men drank about eight beers each between 2pm and 6pm before they began arguing because Mr Hadden couldn’t find his tobacco pouch, according to a statement of police facts.
Mr Hadden accused Mr Holmes of stealing it and the pair argued and pushed each other inside the venue before security intervened and both men were kicked out.
The men were walking on opposite sides of Wharf Road a short time later when Mr Hadden yelled out to Mr Holmes and walked over to him. Mr Holmes told police Mr Hadden pointed a finger at his face and said: “I’m going to kill you”, according to the statement of police facts.
Mr Holmes is accused of immediately punching Mr Hadden in the jaw, causing him to lose consciousness, fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete.
Mr Holmes allegedly later told police the punch made Mr Hadden go “stiff as a board” and he “hit the deck” and said he punched his mate because “he angered me and threatened me”.
But police allege that after throwing the initial punch that floored Mr Hadden, Mr Holmes stood over his mate’s unconscious body and hit him two or three more times in the face while saying: “that’s what you get, you dog ass c---.”
During his first police interview, on the night of the alleged assault, Mr Holmes allegedly told police he stood over Mr Hadden and slapped him in the face twice but couldn’t explain why.
Between January 14 and June 27, Mr Hadden remained in hospital, unresponsive and requiring full-time care.
He never fully regained consciousness and medical treatment ceased at John Hunter Hospital on Monday.
Mr Hadden died at 5.50am on Wednesday. Police allege his death was a direct result of the initial injuries he suffered in the assault on January 14.
Mr Holmes, who had been granted bail after being charged with reckless grievous bodily harm in January, was arrested on Thursday and charged with manslaughter.
The DPP did not oppose Mr Holmes being released on strict conditional bail on Friday and he was released to appear in court next week.
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