A prosecution witness in the assault trial of Liam Jurrah says police pressured him to lie and say the former AFL player carried a weapon and struck a man during a brawl.
Bruno Wilson on Wednesday gave evidence at the trial of Jurrah, who stands accused of seriously injuring his cousin Basil Jurrah in a fight at the Little Sisters town camp near Alice Springs on March 7 last year.
After telling the Alice Springs Supreme Court Jurrah was not carrying a weapon on the night of the alleged assault and had not struck Basil Jurrah, Mr Wilson was challenged by prosecutor Stephen Robson as to why he had contradicted a statement he gave police last July.
"It (the statement) is not true," Mr Wilson said.
"I was under pressure from the detectives," he said.
"I am suggesting you are lying now," Mr Robson said.
"I am not," Mr Wilson replied.
Mr Wilson, who was in jail for an unrelated matter when questioned by police last year, told Jurrah's defence council Jon Tippett QC he felt he would be locked up for longer if he did not tell police what they wanted to hear.
Mr Wilson agreed with Mr Tippett that detectives asked him the same questions about Jurrah over and over and only stopped when he gave an answer they liked.
In his statement to police, Mr Wilson said he saw the former footballer strike Basil Jurrah three times with a nulla nulla, a traditional Aboriginal club.
He told the court police also pressured him to say other things, including that a woman twice struck Basil Jurrah.
Since making the statement Mr Wilson said he has suffered from anxiety attacks.
Outside the Alice Springs court house tensions appeared to be rising, with a fist fight on the court steps and a temporary police station set up in a park opposite, after two groups clashed.
Chief Justice Trevor Riley cautioned jurors in the case not to speculate about what the fight could relate to.
Jurrah has pleaded not guilty to the charge of seriously injuring Basil Jurrah but if convicted could face up to 14 years' jail.
Also giving evidence on Wednesday was Ingrid White, who on Tuesday said Jurrah had struck her on the head with a nulla nulla.
Under questioning from Jurrah's defence counsel Ms White said she believed the blow was accidental when she came between the former footballer and another man who were fighting.
The alleged victim in the case, Basil Jurrah, was listed to give evidence on Wednesday but was not called before proceedings ended for the day.
He is expected to testify on Thursday.
The trial continues.