Neighbourhood dispute ends with men in hospital

A DISPUTE between arguing neighbours erupted violently when one man got over the fence to attack using a claw hammer, and the other to whack him with a pole.

After spending months in jail for his hammer assault, Anthony 'Tony' Phillott says he simply wanted to go home, behave, and care for his frail invalid mum.

Anthony Pender Phillott, 51, from Ebbw Vale, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to unlawful assault causing bodily harm when armed with an offensive instrument - a hammer, at Ebbw Vale on September 4, 2019.

The prosecution charge had been downgraded in the courtroom from doing acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis sought a jail term of 2 ½ years (to serve one-third).

The court heard Phillott has been locked up for 8 ½ months when he appeared for sentence from jail via video-link. It was worked out that two months of that time was spent serving out another (unrelated) sentence order.

In his submission on penalty, defence barrister Justin Thomas raised the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictive health measures introduced into jails making life harder for prisoners.

He sought Phillott's immediate parole, saying if he was not released until July it would mean he would have been in jail 10 months.

"He has pleaded guilty early. It is a new charge entirely and should be treated as an early plea," Mr Thomas said.

"He has been in three prisons and I'm instructed there has been no discipline issues.

"He tells me he was on the receiving end of a physical assault by another inmate."

Judge Orazio Rinaudo said the agreed facts showed that some reason an argument broke out between neighbours with Phillott, from his own yard, calling the man various names and making accusations against him.

The neighbour retaliated with words, Phillott continued to yell and throw items at his weatherboard house.

He said the neighbour armed himself with a pole and Phillott held a claw hammer.

"You climbed over the fence and attacked him," Judge Rinaudo said.

The neighbour took a swing at Phillott with the pole and hit him, the pole causing some injuries. Phillott was later treated in Brisbane at Princess Alexandra Hospital for head lacerations.

Judge Rinaudo said the neighbour received more significant injuries as a result of Phillott hitting him a few times with the hammer, they included a fractured skull and bruises.

He was ransported to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Judge Rinaudo said Phillott at first maintained he'd acted in self defence but the agreed facts set out the circumstances where a real estate agent who was at the scene to assist the neighbour vacate the premises, then assisted the injured neighbour.

He noted that Phillott had previously been sentenced by Ipswich District Court in November 2013 to an 18-month jail term for an assault causing bodily harm offence.

"The most important thing to me now is to get out and look after my mum," Phillott interjected.

Judge Rinaudo said a 2 ½ jail term was appropriate but in all the circumstances, including the significant injury he also suffered, and the time already spent in custody, he would Impose a 26 month sentence.

Giving him immediate parole to be supervised for 22 months, Judge Rinaudo warned Phillott to behave, saying "You must understand you can't care for your mother if you are in custody".

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