NZ man charged over Aus death

Cole Miller
Cole Miller

Two men with ties to New Zealand who are charged over the death of Brisbane teenager Cole Miller are said to be devastated by what's occurred.

Armstrong Renata and Daniel Jermaine Lee Maxwell faced court charged with unlawful striking causing death today, a day after the 18-year-old's life support was switched off.

Maxwell's lawyer Michael Bosscher said his 21-year-old client was "doing it tough".

"He's devastated by what's occurred," Mr Bosscher told reporters outside court.

"He feels nothing but the greatest sympathy for the family of the victim.

"He's only a young man himself. It was his birthday on the evening in question.

"He has no friends or family really here in Australia - they're all in New Zealand."

Renata's lawyer Neil Lawler said his client, also 21, had never been in custody before and was stressed and anxious.

Police say Renata and Maxwell were among a group of four who approached Mr Miller and a friend in Fortitude Valley's Chinatown Mall in the early hours on Sunday.

Maxwell allegedly challenged the pair to a fight and threw the first punches before it's claimed Renata delivered a fatal blow from behind.

Mr Miller, an elite water polo player, died in hospital from massive head trauma yesterday.

He had been on track to follow in his Olympian brother Billy's footsteps, playing for the Brisbane Barracudas in the national league and the Queensland under-20s team.

Maxwell and Renata are facing hefty jail terms if convicted under Queensland's tough new one-punch laws, which carry a maximum life sentence.

Both were remanded in custody today, with Maxwell's case adjourned to January 19 and Renata's to February 8.

The man who introduced tough one-punch laws to Queensland, former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie, said news of Cole's death was devastating.

"I dreaded the days these laws would be used because I knew if they were, an innocent life had been lost," Mr Bleijie posted to Facebook.

"Along with the entire community, I send my deepest condolences to Cole's family and friends at this terribly difficult time."

Meanwhile, more than 2000 people have indicated they will attend a march for Cole in Brisbane's King George Square next Monday.

NZN