A Berkeley tradie has been accused of knocking a 27-year-old woman unconscious at a busy playground last month, leaving her seriously injured and blind in one eye.
Ian Palamara was arrested five weeks after the alleged violence took place in front of children at Integral Energy Park at Kembla Grange on Sunday, September 17.
The 32-year-old dialled into Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday where he sought bail. He is facing charges of affray and reckless wounding.
Police will allege Carissa Edwards was at the park celebrating her niece's birthday about 4pm when a dispute erupted between her and an unknown woman, who was attending a baby shower at the other end of the park.
Tendered court documents state Ms Edwards exchanged words with the woman, before Palamara ran at Ms Edwards from the picnic area and swung a closed fist punch to her left eye.
The force of the punch allegedly caused Ms Edwards to be knocked off her feet and fall to the ground where she lay unconscious for "a few minutes".
Ms Edwards' partner allegedly engaged in a heated argument with Palamara and his family as emergency services were called to the scene. Palamara allegedly drove off before police arrived.
Meanwhile Ms Edwards was rushed to Wollongong Hospital then transferred to Sydney Eye Hospital, where she was unable to undergo surgery due to the severity of her facial swelling.
She sustained a bleed to the back of her left retina, requiring surgery on September 25 to clean out the area, and remains blind in that eye.
Ms Edwards still suffers pain, according to court papers, and it remains unknown how much vision, if any, she will recover.
Police will allege they received information identifying Palamara as the person who assaulted Ms Edwards, however he declined the opportunity to participate in an identification parade.
Palamara was identified using a photo board, which defence lawyer Graeme Morrison argued was "superfluous" as Palamara was already identified in posts made by the alleged victim on Facebook.
He also criticised the police investigation claiming officers failed to speak with a number of other people at the playground.
"He was put in the frame by social media," Mr Morrison said. "It's going to be a long time before the matter comes to fruition."
Mr Morrison added one child from one party aggravated another from the other party and that "it got heated from there".
"My client's family were under threat," he said. "Absolutely all of the aggression fell on the other party."
However police prosecutor Sergeant Dane Corran opposed Palamara's bail, arguing the case against him was strong due to his distinctive tattoos.
Sergeant Corran added the accused man is currently serving two intensive correction orders for two separate assaults, posing a risk to the community.
"These are extremely serious matters," Sergeant Corran said.
"It happens in a public place in front of numerous children."
Magistrate Mark Douglass acknowledged a full-time custodial sentence would be likely if Palamara were to be convicted.
He granted bail, noting strict conditions could be put in place to reduce risk of further offending.
Palamara must report to Lake Illawarra police station daily and must not contact any prosecution witness. His mother also forfeited a surety of $5000.
The case will return to court in November.
Read more Illawarra court and crime stories here.
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