A MAN viciously bashed a schoolboy sitting in a bus stop because he thought the student had been laughing at him.
Zacherie Aiden Pearce, 21, saw the boy and his girlfriend sitting in the bus stop on Warwick Rd, Ipswich.
The couple was watching a DVD through a portable player and as they erupted in laughter, Pearce ran from across the street to confront them.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Pearce accused the couple of "laughing at him" and said "you're a gangster - I'll smash you".
The victim and his girlfriend tried to flee, saying they didn't want to fight, but Pearce gave chase.
He grabbed the victim's face and threw a mighty uppercut at the victim's jaw.
Pearce then grabbed the schoolboy around the throat in a headlock and started to choke him.
He applied pressure to the boy's airways until the child struggled for breath as his girlfriend screamed at Pearce to stop.
An off-duty police officer was refuelling his car at a nearby service station and saw the assault so ran over to break it up.
The 16-year-old victim sustained injuries to his face, neck and chest.
CCTV stills from inside the service station, where Pearce had been shortly before the attack, identified him as the offender.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Brad Dick said random and unprovoked attacks were becoming more prevalent in the community.
"It was disturbing - it was an unprovoked, premeditated and entirely random sustained attack," Snr Const Dick said.
"The victim was a student just using public transport on his way home from school. Members of the public are entitled to travel safely."
Pearce pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.
He was already on a suspended sentence for another offence of violence, committed only two months before this attack, which occurred on May 9.
Pearce's defence said he had an excellent work history.
Pearce was sentenced to nine months prison and released on immediate parole.
He was also ordered to pay $500 compensation to the victim.