One punch death of his father

The Sydney Morning Herald

Shannon Tonkin

August 17,2016

Matthew Domio, the man accused of the one-punch death of his father Dario during a drunken dispute at their home last year, had been a frequent and long-standing victim of the older man's violent and abusive outbursts, a court has heard.

Matthew's brother, Adam Cartwright, told Wollongong District Court on Tuesday his father had been a strict disciplinarian and described the relationship between Dario and Matthew as "volatile".

Matthew Domio (centre) leaves Wollongong courthouse on Tuesday, flanked by his family.

Matthew Domio (centre) leaves Wollongong courthouse on Tuesday, flanked by his family.  Photo: Illawarra Mercury

He said Matthew bore the brunt of Dario's physical and verbal outbursts from childhood.

"Dario was quite violent towards Matthew when he was growing up...he used to discipline him a lot harder than the other boys?" defence lawyer Wayne Flynn asked.

Adam Cartwright, Matthew Domio's brother, leaves court on Tuesday.

Adam Cartwright, Matthew Domio's brother, leaves court on Tuesday.  

"Yes, that's right. If [the other sons] got smacked, Matthew would get punched," Mr Cartwright replied.

"Every now and then he [Dario] would flip his switch. If he was alcohol-fuelled he would go off

Prosecutors claim Matthew punched his father in the jaw during an argument between the pair, both of whom were drunk, on the evening of May 24, causing Dario to fall to the ground, momentarily unconscious. 

He came to a few moments later, however fell unconscious again within half an hour, prompting Matthew to call triple-zero. Dario was hospitalised but never regained consciousness and died two days later.

Matthew was charged with assault causing death (under the influence), to which he pleaded not guilty

Mr Cartwright told his brother's trial on Tuesday that their father had been admitted to Shellharbour Hospital for 10 days about three months before his death.

He said Dario became far worse after the hospital stay, saying there was an incident "between one of us [and Dad] every night" where the sons were forced to "restrain" Dario.

"When there was an incident between you and Dario, was Matthew present?" Mr Flynn asked.

"Yes," Mr Cartwright replied.

When asked to describe what would usually occur, Mr Cartwright said his father would try to "attack" either brother, prompting Matthew to "bear hug" Dario until he calmed down.

"If Matthew was there he would restrain him because he's the oldest and strongest out of us [brothers]," Mr Cartwright said.

The boys' mother, Julie Vidamour, also gave evidence in the trial, confirming Dario's violence towards their eldest son.

Meantime, jurors were played recordings of two triple-zero calls made when Dario lost consciousness for the second time.

In the call, Matthew can be heard saying "me and my dad had a fight earlier...I assaulted him and he was okay but now he's unconscious."

Mr Cartwright, who also spoke during the call, told the triple-zero dispatcher "my brother and me dad had a punch on and my dad got knocked out".

The trial continues before Judge Andrew Haesler.​