The Hervey Bay Courthouse.
The Hervey Bay Courthouse.

Son’s face “flattening” assault on mum’s brutal Bay abuser

"Get off, you are going to kill him".

These were the words a mother screamed as her son dealt face "flattening" blows to the man who had tormented them for years.

The attack would land a young man with no criminal history in court, facing serious jail time.

The troubling case rounded out the final 2020 sitting of the Hervey Bay District Court.

There, a 21-year-old had arrived in court alone, placed his backpack on the ground and walked, head down to the dock where he pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault.

Crown Prosecutor Michael Gawrych said the defendant had arrived home after drinking and told the 52-year-old victim, who was in a relationship with his mother, that he wanted to fight him.

Mr Gawrych said the victim replied he didn't want to fight but that as he walked outside the defendant kicked him in the leg from behind, causing him to land on his hands.

Once the victim was on the ground the defendant tried to choke him.

The court heard that as the mother screamed for his son to get off her partner, he replied "this is on you mum" before repeatedly kicking the victim to the head.

As a result, the stepfather suffered "severe bruising" and had to undergo surgery for facial "flattening" fractures which if left untreated, could have had a permanent impact on his ability to open his mouth or chew.

Mr Gawyrch asked the court to consider the "thuggish and cowardly" nature of the attack which continued once the victim was on the ground and said it was not a "one punch or incidental fall" case.

But Defence Barrister Phillip Hardcastle painted a picture of a traumatised young man trapped in a family "if you can call it that" where his mother had been turned into a punching bag time and time again at the hands of a brute with a criminal history spanning eight pages long.

He said despite taking out domestic violence orders against her abuser, the defendants mother had let her partner back into the house and on the night of the assault, his client had heard the couple arguing and thought history was going to repeat.

The son wiped away tears in the dock as the court heard his mother had called out twice that night asking for him to help and that on the second time he'd come out find her being held down on the couch by his stepfather.

The court also heard he'd previously suffered serious injuries which required surgery following an assault by his stepfather.

Mr Hardcastle said the attack which landed his client in court was not a case of someone being hurt while "just walking in the street minding their own business" but this was instead the culmination of someone with a tumultuous childhood who had intervened repeatedly in a domestic violence situation.

Asked whether he had anything to say about the attack the defendant replied that he regretted the "whole situation" and said "I'm not that person" and that he just wanted a "peaceful life".

Reading through the "victim's" criminal history, which supported multiple domestic violence offences, one of which had landed him in jail this year, Judge Ian Dearden said it was an "awful shame his criminal conduct has turned you into a criminal".

"I have no hesitation in accepting he was appallingly and brutally violent to your mum and to you and that you lived in the middle of this appalling and brutal regime of domestic violence," he said

"(But) you getting involved proves nothing, solves nothing."

Judge Dearden told the defendant that while he understood it was "incredibly difficult" to understand why his mother stayed with her abuser, that "remains her choice".

"You can't be your mother's keeper," he said

"You have to make decisions that are in your best interest".

Referencing a quote attributed to Gandhi, Judge Dearden said "an eye for an eye sends the whole world blind".

He said that had it not been for the background the young man would have been going to jail.

Instead, he handed down a three-year sentence with immediate parole.

This means the defendant will spend "a significant portion" of his 20s under the watch of a parole officer which Judge Dearden recognised would be hard for someone his age but pleaded with him not to let a "bitter lesson" ruin his life.

Convictions were recorded. 

If you need Domestic Violence support call 1800 737 732



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