Man free after gang-bashing girls

UP TO eight drunk men jumped out of a car and savagely bashed three young women and a man they did not know, a court heard yesterday.

The assaults happened across the road from a service station at Currimundi. The foursome had been walking quietly along Nicklin Way.

Peter John Boyle, a 17-year-old in the drunk group, punched one of the girls, knocking her to the ground.

She was bashed as she lay defenceless at the drunk group's feet, kicked in the back until one of her vertebrae was fractured.

The brutal attack stopped when someone yelled that police were on their way.

Boyle was the only member of the group charged from the vicious attack that night.

Yesterday he was allowed to walk free, released immediately from an 18-month jail sentence.

Boyle pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court to assault occasioning bodily harm while in company.

When Boyle pleaded on March 31, Judge John Robertson adjourned the case to give Boyle a chance to name a co-offender.

Boyle gave police the name of one of the other men who was with him during the attack.

But because he was too drunk he said he was not sure who kicked the girl. He has never said why the group attacked the innocent people on October 3, 2009.

Judge Robertson said it was a “very difficult sentencing decision” because he had to balance Boyle's youth and chance for rehabilitation against the seriousness of the attack.

“It was an entirely unprovoked assault by a large group of males on an entirely innocent woman,” Judge Robertson said.

The woman was kicked in the back eight or nine times. She has difficulty standing and walking, and relies on help to shower, shop and care for her young son.

“Whether or not you do know who deliberately kicked her, I'm unable to say,” Judge Robertson said.

“So you remain the only person out of the six to eight males who alighted from that car and involved themselves in this unpleasant and violent incident on this young lady.”

Boyle was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with immediate release on parole.

Defence barrister Anna Smith said at the end of 2009 Boyle was being “badly influenced” by the people he kept company with and was drinking heavily.

Since the attack she said he had disassociated himself from the crowd and made “significant inroads in his rehabilitation”.



Charge: assault occasioning bodily harm while in company

The Judge: “Clearly your punches to her were unprovoked and entirely gratuitous”

The defence: “He's embarrassed and ashamed of his actions on that night”

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