A MAN accused of putting his partner in hospital in a domestic violence incident in Merriwa has been found not guilty of two charges.
After nearly three days of deliberation at the end of a two-day trial, a jury found Benjamin Riley, 41, not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, and not guilty of the alternative count of recklessly cause grievous bodily harm.
Mr Riley and his then partner, Rebecca Radnidge, were living together in the lead-up to Christmas when they argued on the night of December 15, 2019.
Miss Radnidge had been talking to her mother on the phone about plans for Christmas. Riley said he tried to leave the house.
Defence barrister Nicholas Moir told the jury that as he tried to leave, Miss Radnidge wrapped herself around him at the front door. He attempted to hug her, to calm her down, and she bit him on the face.
He struck her to the face, to "get her off" and she fell onto the couch.
"If someone was biting someone's face, for him to violently push her away I would have thought was just expected," he said.
Mr Riley told police "we were fighting, like verbally and stuff, and it got to the point where she was biting my face, and I got her off."
The defence case was that Miss Radnidge started to lose consciousness and to fit at that point, and Mr Riley tried to revive her by putting her in the shower, before ringing an ambulance.
Miss Radnidge was treated at John Hunter Hospital for serious injuries including bleeding inside her skull and a compression fracture to her C7 vertebrae.
The police case was that when Mr Riley struck her she fell to the floor, and that he then kicked her to the head and upper body, while she offered no resistance.
On the Triple 0 call, played for the jury, Mr Riley was asked what happened.
"We had a bit of a violent altercation and she may have hit her head ... it may have happened while she was biting my face ... all I care about is what is going on with her right now."
If her version of events were closer to the truth, including being stomped on the head 30 times, you would expect to see more injuries and grazing, Mr Moir said.
"The crown suggested there were more injuries that were consistent with her account than the accused ... there is no evidence that those minor injuries were caused by steel capped boots - but they might be caused by an ongoing struggle."
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