The one punch that broke a family

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 03 Januari 2015 | 20.01

Brothers Patrick (left) and Barry Lyttle. Patrick is in critical condition after an alleged one punch blow from his brother Barry. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

IT WAS a family boys trip that left one brother fighting for his life, the other in jail accused of his assault and their father grieving for them both.

As Irish tourist Barry Lyttle, 33, appeared in court yesterday, his father sat beside the hospital bed of his other son, 31-year-old Patrick, who suffered a critical brain injury in the one-punch attack in Kings Cross in the early hours of yesterday.

It is understood Barry and his father had arrived in Sydney from Belfast, Northern Ireland, just three days earlier to visit Patrick, who has spent several months travelling around Australia.

But the joyful reunion turned to tragedy when the two brothers started arguing outside a club on Bayswater Rd about 3am before the fight allegedly became physical.

Patrick Lyttle being treated by paramedics after the alleged one punch blow by his brother Barry at Kings Cross. Picture: Gordon McComiskie Source: News Corp Australia

Barry Lyttle talking to police at Kings Cross after his brother was critically injured. Picture: Gordon McComiskie Source: News Corp Australia

Kings Cross detective superintendent Michael Fitzgerald said the three family members had gone out for dinner before their father went home and the brothers moved on to another venue.

Supt Fitzgerald said the fight was captured on CCTV footage and followed what appeared to be a "minor argument".

It is understood police are obliged to prosecute Barry for the assault regardless of Patrick's wishes if he regains consciousness.

Supt Fitzgerald said he had spoken to the brothers' father at the hospital and saw "the pain in his eyes".

"The pain he is suffering right now cannot be explained in words," he said.

"To have one son facing serious criminal charges and another fighting for his life. He's in shock, as you can imagine.

"This is a family tragedy that has happened to occur on our streets."

Patrick and Barry Lyttle when they were youngsters. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Supt Fitzgerald said Barry had been breath tested and recorded a low-range blood alcohol reading, leading police to believe alcohol was not a major factor.

Patrick's Facebook page features many photos of his travels around Australia and his anticipation at the family reunion.

After arriving in Sydney in June Patrick posted the message: "Finally arrived!"

Barry was the first to share his elation, posting back: "Enjoy bro."

Patrick Lyttle posted a picture of himself with a kangaroo on his Facebook page. Source: Facebook

In October Barry commented on one of his brother's photos: "Awesome bro! Gonna get tickets booked for new year". The pair also appear together in several photos.

But as police arrived at the scene of the attack on Saturday, Barry was visibly distressed, kneeling in the street with blood covering his hands as he was interviewed by officers.

A nearby nightclub security guard rendered first aid until paramedics arrived.

"He (Patrick) was not a patron of the club," the security guard said. "His brother screamed because he just realised how bad it really was. I think the blood is what really shook him up."

Barry sobbed repeatedly as he appeared in Parramatta Court via video link, charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

The incident comes almost a year after mandatory sentencing laws for one-punch offenders were introduced following a series of controversial sentences for the crime.

Under the legislation, offenders who throw a fatal punch while intoxicated will spend a minimum of eight years behind bars.

But, perpetrators have to blow 0.15, three times the drink driving level to be captured by the laws.

Supt Fitzgerald said it was another reminder of the dangers of one punch attacks.

"It occurs far too regularly," he said.

Patrick remained in a critical but stable condition at St Vincent's Hospital last night after undergoing surgery.

Barry did not apply for bail and will reappear at Central Local Court with private legal representation tomorrow.

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