Man faces trial in Sydney over Irish backpacker’s death

A MAN accused of punching an Irish backpacker outside a takeaway shop in Sydney, Australia, has been ordered to face trial for manslaughter.

In Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, magistrate Carolyn Barkell committed Tobias Liam Simmons to stand trial in the New South Wales District Court next month.

Simmons is accused of striking 23-year-old Gearoid Walsh at Coogee’s Yeeros cafe in Sydney at about 11pm on October 25, 2009.

Mr Walsh hit his head off a footpath and was knocked unconscious.

He never regained consciousness and his mother Tressa, who travelled to Australia immediately following the incident turned off the life-support machine that was keeping him alive.

Afterwards, she appealed for the person responsible for Gearoid’s death to come forward.

Simmons turned himself into police following that appeal.

He has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

A witness told a committal hearing last month that she saw someone being hit and stumble back out of her view.

Helen Skotadis said she then saw the victim lying on the floor turning blue, and that “even his hands were turning blue”.

“The brother was very emotional ... then he took off up the street,” Ms Skotadis said.

An earlier bail hearing heard that Mr Walsh swore at his brother, Ciaran, when he tried to stop him from returning to an argument with Simmons moments before the alleged attack.

The matter was adjourned to the District Court on June 10.

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