Kodi James Maybir is on trial over the death of a seven-year-old boy. A man accused of murdering a seven-year-old boy previously punched him hard in the face for running slowly during a “beep test”, a court has heard.
Kodi James Maybir had been living in a relationship with the boy’s mother, Kayla James, who was convicted of her son’s manslaughter.
Mr Maybir, a Christian music producer, has pleaded not guilty to murder, arguing the boy’s 2013 death in a southern Sydney music studio was caused by a wrestling accident.
But the Crown alleges the fatal blow or blows to the head were deliberate and came after months of abuse.
Mr Maybir, the boy and James were holidaying at a Bulli campsite near Wollongong on the Easter long weekend in 2013, a little more than a month before the death.
Fellow camper Michael Comer told the NSW Supreme Court at Darlinghurst on Thursday that he had seen Mr Maybir and James running along the beach, holding the boy between them.
The boy was struggling to keep up and then they began to drag him, Mr Comer said.
“He fell face first down in the sand.”
Mr Comer told the court the boy was trying to stand when Mr Maybir picked up a piece of driftwood and beat the boy across the buttocks with it.
Mr Comer said he later saw Mr Maybir and the boy back at the campsite at a basketball court.
Mr Maybir was running lengths of the court, touching the ground at each end, encouraging the boy to do the same. The witness was reminded of a “beep test” in which the participant must do faster and faster laps.
The court heard that, when the boy slowed to a walk, Mr Maybir became aggressive.
The boy had fallen to the ground and was standing up when Mr Maybir “punched him right in the middle of the face”.
“It was a hard punch,” Mr Comer said. He reported the incidents to the police.
Mr Maybir’s barrister, Grant Brady, asked the witness whether it would be wrong to say the accused had tapped the boy on the forehead with an open palm, as if to say “Come on mate”.
The witness said that was not what happened.
Mr Maybir had become “infatuated” with the boy’s mother, inviting her and her family to live with him in his music studio, the court heard previously.
When initially asked how the boy had died, Mr Maybir said he might have fallen off a pogo stick.
An autopsy revealed the boy had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the back and front of his head, causing multiple subdural haemorrhages as well as the brain swelling that killed him.
The trial continues.