A SUPREME Court trial has opened for two teenage boys accused of fatally bashing a Maryborough man.
John Bourke was found dead in his Derby Road home on the morning of July 15, 2018.
The boys charged with his murder are standing trial in Bendigo.
They have pleaded not guilty to murder, but the court heard one of the boys would admit to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
In their opening statement to the jury of 13 people, prosecutors said the two boys attended a house party in Maryborough on the night of July 14, 2018.
The boys, who were both underage at the time, were drinking alcohol at the party.
Crown prosecutor Grant Hayward told the jury police allege that in the early hours of July 15, 2018, the two boys forced open the door of Mr Bourke's home.
Mr Bourke, who had a genetic condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, was standing on crutches in the entryway of his house.
The court heard one of the boys kicked and punched Mr Bourke, and stomped on his face after he fell to the ground.
The jury was told the other boy punched the 45-year-old and stomped on his legs.
Police say the boys left Mr Bourke's home after the assault and returned to the house party.
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Mr Hayward told the court that a witness said they heard one of the boys say he "bashed someone", and that the other boy said he thought he had killed someone.
Another witness, the jury heard, told investigators he heard one of the accused say to the other, "You can go away for it, not me."
The boys left the party and stayed the night at a friend's house. The next morning, they asked to be driven back to the house where the party had been.
The jury heard a witness told police that one of the accused boys said they had attacked someone in the wrong house.
About 12.40pm on July 15, 2018, Mr Bourke's neighbour entered the house after noticing the front door was open and the porch light was on.
The court was told the neighbour found Mr Bourke lying unresponsive on the ground with blood on his face.
Police were called to the Derby Road address and investigated the scene.
Prosecutors said officers found a palm print on the security door, which allegedly belonged to one of the boys. There were also a number of shoe prints, the jury was told, that matched the shoes worn by one of the accused.
An autopsy of Mr Bourke's body found he had sustained facial injuries, including cuts near the right eye, bruising and cuts on his right ear and lip, fractures to the jaw and right eye socket, and cuts on the tongue.
He also had bleeding in the skull, chest bruising, and bruised knuckles on his left hand.
The autopsy also found, the court heard, that Mr Bourke had sustained craniofacial injuries as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and face.
A CT scan showed Mr Bourke also had a number of fractures to the ribs.
Mr Hayward said that about 6.20pm on July 15, 2018, police searched the home of one of the accused boys. Police seized some items of clothing and shoes.
The boy was arrested and interviewed at the Maryborough Police Station.
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The court was told he admitted to police he had walked to Mr Bourke's address, but said he couldn't remember much of the night except for seeing a man's face covered with blood.
The jury heard that the boy told police he had been meaning to go to a different house. The prosecutor said the boy indicated to police that he didn't want to kill the man, just bash him.
About 8.30pm on the same day, police went to the home of the second boy. They searched his house and seized a pair of pants and a jacket.
The court heard that the boy admitted to going to Mr Bourke's house. Mr Hayward said the boy told police he punched Mr Bourke while he was standing and again after he had fallen to the ground.
The boy, the jury heard, admitted to stomping on Mr Bourke's legs three or four times. The prosecutor said the boy told investigators his co-accused had stomped on Mr Bourke's head.
The attack continued despite Mr Bourke's pleas for it to stop, the jury was told, and the two boys eventually left and returned to the party.
Defence counsel Rishi Nathwani, who was representing the boy accused of stomping on Mr Bourke's face, said the teen was pleading not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter.
Mr Nathwani said while the boy had not denied he was responsible for his actions, the boy did not intend to kill or seriously injure the man.
Defence counsel Jarrod Williams, representing the other accused, said the jury would have to consider whether his client caused Mr Bourke's death.
Mr Williams said he would argue the boy's actions did not cause the death, and that there was no prior agreement, arrangement, or understanding between the boys to kill the man.
The trial is expected to run for five weeks and will continue in Bendigo on Tuesday.
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