Cage fighter walks free for 'cowardly' king hit
A MARTIAL arts instructor who king hit a shopping centre security guard has walked free from court after being given immediate parole.
"Poke the lion, get bit," was 23-year-old Nathan Leonard Richards' statement to waiting media as he left Maroochydore District Court this afternoon.
Judge Long described Richards' one-punch attack on an unsuspecting Kawana Shoppingworld security guard as "cowardly".
He heard Richards and the security guard had a history of animosity which dated back seven or eight months before last year's November 3 incident.
Crown prosecutor Cassandra Wilson said the security guard had been working at a customer service desk on November 3 when he heard Richards calling him derogatory names.
Ms Wilson said the guard took a lunch break about half an hour later and was walking down a hallway when Richards came from the other direction.
Richards punched the guard in the face as they crossed paths, knocking the guard into a woman who was walking beside him.
The woman was put off balance by the collision and pushed into a toilet door.
CCTV footage of the incident was played to Judge Long.
It showed the guard lying unconscious as Richards turned and walked away.
Ms Wilson said the guard remained unconscious for about five minutes.
She described it as an inexcusable example of a cowardly king hit on an unsuspecting victim.
The guard's injuries included a cut which reached from his top lip to his nose as well as a cut on the back of his head.
Surgery was required to fix his facial wound.
Defence barrister David Crews explained his client's heavily tattooed face and head, saying they had been done by Richards' uncle to help with his cage fighting.
Mr Crews said his client had a black belt in jiu-jitsu and had been working as a security guard for licensed venues at the time of the attack.
He said Richards had lost his security licence when charged for the attack and had since been supplementing his Centrelink income as a martial arts instructor.
Mr Crews said his client had not been banned from the shopping centre in the lead up to the incident.
Judge Long noted the financial, emotional and psychological impact the incident had on the guard, saying it was to be expected from such a sudden and unexpected attack.
His reasons for keeping Richards in the community included the fact he did not continue the attack after throwing the punch and the loss of his security licence had caused him suffering.
He said he would give Richards the benefit of the doubt.
Richards was sentenced to 18 months in jail with immediate parole.
Centre management at Kawana Shoppingworld this afternoon declined to comment on the incident or the sentence.