Australia

Accused in Hilltop Hoods glassing trial tells court: ‘It was a pure accident’

A man accused of glassing Hilltop Hoods member Daniel Smith at a wake said the incident was a “pure accident”, and he thought he was going to die in the aftermath.Christopher Peregi told the District Court he slid while standing up from a chair at the gathering, which was held at a home at Aberfoyle…

A man accused of glassing Hilltop Hoods member Daniel Smith at a wake said the incident was a “pure accident”, and he thought he was going to die in the aftermath.

Christopher Peregi told the District Court he slid while standing up from a chair at the gathering, which was held at a home at Aberfoyle Park, in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, in May 2018.

“My feet just got caught in the chair when it moved,” he told the jury.

“As I stumbled around I had the bottle obviously up in the air and I came over … the top of Dan and the bottle came down and hit him on the head.”

Peregi, 45, is standing trial after he pleaded not guilty to aggravated causing harm with intent to Mr Smith, 42, and has also denied assaulting his brother, Ross.

Giving evidence on Monday, Peregi said Ross Smith was “obviously pissed off” after the bottle hit Daniel Smith’s head.

“I grabbed him and pushed him (Ross Smith) and we just went down together,” he said.

Peregi recalled a “massive blow” to the back of his head, which caused him to stumble forward and slide on his side.

“When I was laying on the ground it was just all black,” he said.

“I get this, this boot in my left eye and I just remember then already, I thought I was going to die.”

He told the court the brothers left the scene and he was told to sit down.

“I wanted to go out and see if Dan was ok … and just say it was a pure accident what had happened,” he said.

He said he was left with injuries including lacerations under his eye and on top of his head.

Earlier in the trial, Daniel Smith gave evidence he heard a “loud popping sound” on his head, before his vision went blank and he passed out.

Asked by defence counsel whether Peregi could have lost his balance while holding a bottle, Mr Smith said he rejected that idea “in every possible way”.

The court has Peregi’s current wife had previously been married to Mr Smith, and the former couple have a teenage son together.

Prosecutors said Mr Smith had no issue with the relationship, but Ross Smith had “taken exception” to his friend starting a relationship with his brother’s ex-partner.

The trial continues before Judge Liesl Chapman and a jury.

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