REAL es­tate mogul Daniel Hayes could lose his li­cence to prac­tice af­ter a bust-up with a ri­val agent in Gee­long.

Mr Hayes, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Hayeswinckle, punched auc­tion­eer Tom But­ters dur­ing a heated ex­change out­side Bux­ton Real Es­tate’s of­fice on Pak­ing­ton St last Au­gust.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty to un­law­ful as­sault in Gee­long Mag­is­trates’ Court yes­ter­day.

The plea means Mr Hayes may have to ap­ply for per- mis­sion to re­tain his real es­tate li­cence.

Ac­cord­ing to Con­sumer Af­fairs Vic­to­ria, per­mis­sion is nec­es­sary for any vi­o­lent of­fences that are pun­ish­able by three months or more in pri­son. Un­law­ful as­sault car­ries a max­i­mum penalty of three months in jail.

The vi­o­lent ex­change hap­pened af­ter an el­derly man col­lided with the back of Mr Hayes’ car out­side Bux­ton’s of­fice on Au­gust 22 last year.

Af­ter ex­it­ing his car, Mr Hayes no­ticed agents from Bux­ton were film­ing and laugh­ing at him, send­ing him into a fit of rage that led to the as­sault.

In court, Mr Hayes’ lawyer de­scribed his be­hav­iour as “ou­tra­geous” and said the charges were a “great em­bar­rass­ment” to him pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally.

The lawyer told the court ten­sion had been brew­ing be- tween Mr Hayes and the ri­val firm for sev­eral years.

“There is a sig­nif­i­cant his­tory be­tween the two in terms of pro­fes­sional com­pe­ti­tion, as well as the fact a num­ber of Mr Hayes’ for­mer em­ploy­ees now work at Bux­ton,” she said.

But she said the at­tack hap­pened dur­ing a tu­mul­tuous pe­riod in Mr Hayes’ life.

Mr Hayes’ younger brother had died sud­denly five days ear­lier and the in­ci­dent hap­pened min­utes af­ter vis­it­ing a fu­neral par­lour to se­lect a cof­fin. His mother was in hos­pi­tal with a heart con­di­tion at the time.

The lawyer said a psy­chol- ogist had been treat­ing Mr Hayes for “a num­ber of mat­ters” dur­ing the past eight years, but there had been no con­tact be­tween the pair in the six months be­fore the in­ci­dent.

She de­tailed Mr Hayes’ jour­ney from high school dropout to a “self-made” suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man who now em­ployed 35 full-time staff in of­fices around Gee­long.

Be­fore gain­ing his real es­tate qual­i­fi­ca­tion at age 31, Mr Hayes served in the Navy and spent more than a decade work­ing with high-risk youths, the court heard.

The lawyer said Mr Hayes was a long-time fi­nan­cial donor to sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions around Gee­long, in­clud­ing char­i­ties.

Mr Hayes was sup­ported in court by busi­ness part­ner Michelle Winckle along with his wife, a co-di­rec­tor at the firm.

The fa­ther of two had ini­tially been listed to re­ceive a di­ver­sion, but mag­is­trate John Lesser said the of­fend­ing was too se­ri­ous to avoid a crim­i­nal record.

He placed Mr Hayes on a 12-month good be­hav­iour bond and or­dered him to pay $1000 to the court fund.

While Mr Hayes was spared a con­vic­tion, his guilty plea re­mains on his record.

Daniel Hayes

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