Filippo Lombardi is charged with wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm
A man has pleaded not guilty to a serious assault on Sean Cox, a Liverpool fan from Co Meath who was beaten unconscious outside Anfield in April.
Mr Cox, a 53-year-old father-of-three, suffered catastrophic injuries in what was described in court as an "unprovoked attack".
Prosecuting barrister Neville Biddle opened his case at Preston Crown Court in England by telling the jurors that Roma fan Filippo Lombardi has already pleaded guilty to violent disorder, but he pointed out that didn't mean he was guilty of this assault charge.
He described Sean Cox as a lifelong Liverpool supporter who was on his way to Anfield with his older brother Martin to watch the team play in the Champions League against the Italian side when he was assaulted.
He said he was first punched and knocked to the ground by another Roma fan, and it is the prosecution’s case that Mr Lombardi then lashed out with his belt as Mr Cox lay on the ground.
He described the 53-year-old as an “innocent bystander”.
Defence barrister Alison Gurden said her client accepted his actions and behaviour on the night were unacceptable, but denies being part of a joint enterprise to assault Mr Cox with the other man.
He said he did not know it was going to happen and had no intention of being involved in any violence.
The trial continues.