A Mareeba man has taken the stand accused of attack on Irish backpackers.
A Mareeba man has taken the stand accused of attack on Irish backpackers.

Man tells court ‘I was fearing for my life’

A MAREEBA man has told a court he was fearing for his life when he hit two Irish backpackers with a baseball bat over his garden fence.

Ashley John Moss, 35, has claimed a group of angry backpackers were threatening him and his family and friends over the fence as they tried to seek revenge after he punched their friend for urinating in the street.

Mr Moss has pleaded not guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm in the Cairns District Court.

He has conceded he did hit the men with the bat, but has claimed it was in self defence.

He took the stand yesterday and told the court the angry group were shaking the fence and throwing projectiles, including a salt and pepper shaker, at his group, which included his pregnant wife.

"They were offering me to jump over the fence so they could fight me," he said.

"I was scared, mate, I was fearing for my life. I was feeling that someone was going to get hurt."

Mr Moss told the court he had been angry when he saw a man urinating on the street in front of his wife and friend, so jumped the fence and punched him twice in the face.

He said the group who returned wrongfully claimed him and his mate had "doubled" their friend and were seeking retribution.

He told the court he went to the shed and got the bat because he feared for his safety, then hit the two men - Owen Fogarty and Daniel McDermitt - with the bat.

Both men suffered serious head injuries, with one likely to have permanent hearing loss.

The court heard after the group left, Mr Moss hurled the bat over the fence, into a lake on the opposite side of the road, then took a cold shower.

He denied this was because he and the bat were covered in blood.

He also told the court after the backpackers left he was being verbally abused by a group of indigenous people so told them to "f - k off you n-----s". The trial continues today.