A CAIRNS police officer has claimed he was defending himself against a "flurry of strikes and blows" when he punched a British backpacker in the head three times.
Constable Matt McKinner, 42, has denied he caused grievous bodily harm to Englishman Leigh Matthew Baker, 24, while arresting him in an alley way on Sheridan St in April last year.
Mr Baker suffered fractures to his jaw, cheek and eye socket which he alleges were the result of unprovoked punches from Constable McKinnar, who had chased him after he fled from police outside Gilligan's.
The officer took to the stand in the Cairns District Court yesterday and said he fell on top of Mr Baker after he moved a bin and felt what he believed to be a kick to his chest.
"I remember putting my hands out to try and restrain the person who was throwing a flurry of strikes and blows towards me," he said.
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