A rather unusual trial opened at Stafford Crown Court yesterday with no defendant in the dock and no victim in the court room.
A 12,000 mile video link was set up between the court and the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand so that a victim of an alleged night-time attack in Tamworth who emigrated could give evidence.
The defendant Thomas Piovesana (22) of Rothay, Tamworth, was also absent and he was represented by a solicitor.
Recorder Timothy Raggatt QC, told jurors: "You will immediately notice that there is an odd feature and that is the dock has no one in it - The defendant is not here.
"Nevertheless this trial is going to proceed for very good public reasons, not least of all is that the events with which you are going to be concerned happened over 14 months ago so that memory is important.
"I have decided that this trial must proceed although Piovesana is not here but he is represented. You may be assured straight away that his interests will be properly represented in full by a solicitor and counsel who will question witnesses on his behalf.
"His interests are fully safeguarded. It would be quite wrong to speculate and you must not take this as any admission of guilt. The fundamental issue is that the prosecution must prove his guilt whether he is here or not. This trial will be conducted in a time honoured fashion."
Piovesana has previously pleaded not guilty to assault on David Crane and denied an assault on Russell Hartwell both in August last year.
Prosecuting, Stefan Kolodynski said: "This is a relatively simple case. Piovesana assaulted Mr Crane and punched him in the faced which caused him quite serious injury. All he could remember was the punch. He was totally incapacitated. He fell to the floor and the next thing he could remember was waking up in hospital.
"While on the ground Piovesana continued the attack and punched him several times to the face and only stopped when someone said David had had enough."
He said Crane was in a stupor and Mr Hartwell tried to revive him.
He claimed the alleged attack occurred while Mr Hartwell and Mr Crane were walking a girlfriend home.
Mr Hartwell's evidence was shown on two giant screens from the Bay of Plenty.
The trial continues.