REAL ESTATE STOUSH ENDS UP IN COURT:
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.