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Prison sentence for teen 'yobbo'

IN PLAIN VIEW: Safe City CCTV footage of a fight in Bell St near the Ipswich Train Station.
IN PLAIN VIEW: Safe City CCTV footage of a fight in Bell St near the Ipswich Train Station. Contributed

A TEENAGER who randomly assaulted two people in a "thuggish and cowardly" attack in the Ipswich CBD has faced court.

Benjamin Bertram Forrest, 18, had just turned 17 when he was with friends at the Ipswich train station and they asked a man standing at a pedestrian crossing for a cigarette.

When the man said he didn't have any Forrest tried to king-hit him but missed.

Forrest's mate punched the victim who was later treated for a laceration to his mouth.

After the gang left the train station, they launched a second attack on a 52-year-old man who was walking through the Ipswich Mall on the way to the cinema.

The man was in Ipswich on his monthly visit to supervise a small team of employees at Amberley RAAF base.

Crown prosecutor Noel Needham said Forrest "shoulder-charged" the victim into a glass wall. As the victim bounced off the wall another person in the group punched him in the mouth. The first attack was captured on Safe City cameras and police were able to arrest Forrest soon afterwards.

"I reiterate the excellent work of the Ipswich City Council and police - it gives the court the opportunity of seeing the offence," Judge Greg Koppenol said.

As the footage was screened, Judge Koppenol said it was "shocking, thuggish and cowardly" and the combination of alcohol and peer pressure gave young men the lethal idea they could terrorise people.

"These yobbos going about assaulting people - it gives Ipswich a bad name," he said.

Forrest pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm in company was sentenced to nine months' prison to serve three months, taking into account his plea of guilty and precedent.

A victim impact statement written by the second victim said since the assault on December 17 last year, he no longer felt safe during his monthly work visits to Ipswich and had to stay out of town.

He said the attack aggravated a previous heart condition and he still suffered numbness to his lip from being punched.

Defence barrister Scott Neaves said Forrest planned to move out of Ipswich and live with his dad and do a forklift course, which, the judge said, would earn Forrest self-esteem and a positive future.

Mr Neaves said his client was extremely drunk at the time, understood the significance of the offence and had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Topics:  assault occasioning bodily harm, ipswich cbd, ipswich train station



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