A FORENSIC pathologist was told by police that Anthony Dunning had been put in a ''choker hold'' for 80 seconds during a scuffle with security guards at Crown Casino and never regained consciousness.
He died four days later.
Dr Noel Woodford told the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday he discussed the case with homicide Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles on July 7 last year, the night before performing an autopsy on Mr Dunning. Dr Woodford made notes indicating police believed Mr Dunning had been put in a choker hold.
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The pathologist found Mr Dunning, 40, had died of a brain injury following heart arrest ''during prone restraint (including pressure on the neck) of an obese male with cardiomegaly [enlargement of the heart]''.
The precise cause or ''mechanism'' of the heart arrest was not able to be determined with certainty, but likely contributory factors included the prone positioning of an obese man with a prominent abdomen, pressure on the neck, and an enlarged heart.
Dr Woodford said there were two bruises to the neck, one on either side, but he could not say if they were caused by the choker hold.
Six security guards - Matthew Lawson, 27, Quoc Tran, 34, Benjamin Vigo, 24, Cameron Sanderson, 40, Nicholas Levchenko, 26, and Jacques Fucile, 30 - have been charged after Mr Dunning's death.
Lawson has been charged with manslaughter while the other five face assault charges.
Prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, has told the court Lawson crash-tackled Mr Dunning at about 10.48pm on July 3 last year before straddling him. Mr Dunning had been asked to leave the casino because he was drunk.
Mr Tinney said Lawson restrained Mr Dunning with an arm or arms around the neck.
Dr Woodford told the court he believed Mr Dunning suffered cardiac arrest when lying on the gaming floor.
The pathologist said he had viewed the CCTV footage of the incident and there was no evidence of impairment to Mr Dunning's breathing before he was taken to the ground.
Mr Tinney has told the court that ambulance paramedics arrived at 11.08pm to find Mr Dunning ''seriously ill with pulse and respirations intermittently absent''. He was treated at the scene then taken to The Alfred hospital.
''At no time did Crown Casino security staff provide a truthful account to ambulance officers as to the events that had led to the medical condition of [Mr] Dunning,'' Mr Tinney said.