A man accused of inflicting serious head injuries to an assault victim in east Belfast threw just one punch in self-defence, a court heard on Friday.
Dale Wilkinson, 32, returned home to Leicester a fortnight after the alleged attack on a man in the Templemore Avenue area on March 6, a judge was told.
PSNI detectives travelled to England this week to arrest and bring him back to Northern Ireland.
Wilkinson, formerly of Limehill Road in Lisburn, faces a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The alleged victim, also aged 32, was critically ill in hospital for a period following the incident believed to have been fuelled by alcohol. His condition is now understood to have improved.
Appearing before Belfast Magistrates' Court today, Wilkinson stood head-bowed in the dock for much of the hearing.
A detective constable opposed bail due to fears the accused may not return for any trial.
He claimed Wilkinson left Northern Ireland two weeks after the alleged attack and was not seen again until his arrest.
But defence counsel Michael Boyd argued his client had been unaware of any police investigation into the incident.
"He makes a self-defence case," Mr Boyd added.
"The injured party attacked him and he (Wilkinson) punched him once in self-defence."
The defendant handed himself in at his local police station immediately after discovering officers were looking for him, the court heard.
Granting bail, District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered Wilkinson to stay at an address in Leicester and report to police every day.
She also banned him from any contact with the alleged victim and imposed an alcohol prohibition.
The case was adjourned to next month.
As Wilkinson was led from the dock a man in the public gallery targeted him for verbal abuse, shouting: "F****** scumbag."