http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22433262-29277,00.htmlA SEVENTH Day Adventist labour contractor accused of beating a 130kg Cook Islander with a hammer told a court today he gave the man pocket money, motorbikes, food and helped him live "like a king".
Manuel Purauto, 43, of Hoxton Park in Sydney's southwest, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on 20-year-old Sam Kautai.
Mr Kautai claims Mr Purauto continually attacked him, often with a hammer, after Mr Purauto paid his airfare from the Cook Islands so he could work in Australia from 2004.
The younger man claims the attacks left him blind in one eye.
Mr Purauto, a father of eight also from the Cook Islands, denies the charges and says the portrayal of him as a violent boss from hell is untrue.
He said he regularly provided Mr Kautai with $50 to $100 in pocket money and advised him to lose weight to help him find a girlfriend.
"He lived like a king,'' Mr Purauto told Downing Centre Local Court.
He said Mr Kautai would consume a whole chicken, a loaf of bread and two litres of Pepsi for a meal every day and was too heavy for labouring work.
A fall from scaffolding on a building site soon after he arrived in Australia had shown he was unfit to work.
But Mr Purauto said he soon came to suspect Mr Kautai was smoking and selling cannabis, and that he was getting into fights and going out all weekend.
Mr Kautai had a motorbike fall, a car accident and several run-ins with police.
"He bought a car - that's when everything started with this young man,'' he told the court today.
Mr Purauto said he became fed up with Mr Kautai when police picked him up for joy riding.
"I can't support you any more, I said. I wasn't happy with him that day. I used hard language that day,'' he told the court.
Mr Purauto said Mr Kautai brought on his own problems as he was not a hard worker.
But he denied losing his temper.
"I use a hammer every day, you can't use it on a human, I never used it on him,'' he said.
"I never slapped the boy, I don't get cross with anybody,'' he said.
During the hearing, Magistrate Hugh Dillion asked Mr Kautai's relatives to stop pulling faces in an apparent attempt to distract Mr Purauto.
When cross examined, Mr Purauto was asked if the fact that Mr Kautai was a Jehovah's Witness and from a different part of the Cook Islands had caused animosity between them.
He said: "We are Cook Islanders, we help each other.''
The hearing continues tomorrow.