Billy Clay in court over alleged one-punch assault of Jake Sylvester

THE man accused of the “one-punch” assault of former professional surfer Jake Sylvester outside a Newcastle West hotel has appeared in court for the first time.

Billy Patrick Clay, 22, of Mayfield, was represented by barrister Andrew Bright during a brief mention of his matter in Newcastle Local Court on Thursday.

Mr Clay has not entered a plea to a charge of reckless grievous bodily harm.

Magistrate Robert Stone adjourned the matter to April 6 and said a plea would need to be entered on that date. 

Mr Sylvester, 23, had been celebrating with friends on February 24 after competing in the SurfAid Cup, a charity event as part of Surfest, when he was knocked unconscious outside the Family Hotel on Hunter Street about 11.40pm.

Police have said Mr Sylvester had been ejected from the Steel Street hotel before “a scuffle broke out on a footpath’’.

Mr Clay is accused of punching Mr Sylvester once, causing him to fall back and hit his head on the roadway. 

Mr Sylvester's father, Kim, said in the days after the alleged assault that his son had suffered a fracture at the back of his skull.