Craig Dalkin, 33, is alleged to have carried out the assault on the 31-year-old in Newbottle Street, Houghton, at around 8.10pm on Saturday, July 30.
Dalkin, of Marsden Close, Houghton, did not enter a plea to a charge of wounding with intent to commit GBH.
District Judge Zoe Passfield told him his alleged crime was so serious that it could only be dealt with at a crown court.
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At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “On the face of it, it appears to be a completely unprovoked attack where the defendant has punched, two blows.
“The victim suffered a bleed to the brain after his head hit the ground and is currently under sedation for at least 48 hours.
“CCTV clearly shows the assault, although I haven’t personally viewed it.
“He’s shown CCTV and accepts that he’s the person but says he acted in self-defence and that the complainant produced a knife and was going to cut the defendant’s throat.”
Val Bell, defending, said: “I’ve seen the CCTV and it’s a very brief incident. It’s clear there’s a verbal altercation.
“There’s no suggestion the two men knew each other.”
Dalkin, who is in employment, was granted conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday, August 30.
He must maintain his home address as his main residence, abide by a tagged 8pm to 5am curfew, and not enter Newbottle Street.