Man who punched co-worker jailed

Narrogin Observer - - Observer News - Tim Ed­munds

A 25-year-old New Zealand man who struck a work col­league to the head in a drunken one-punch at­tack in Ko­jonup last year, re­sult­ing in life-threat­en­ing brain in­juries, has been jailed for 18 months.

Rewiata Horitu Ge­orge was sen­tenced in Al­bany Dis­trict Court on Mon­day af­ter plead­ing guilty to griev­ous bod­ily harm.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at his home on Oc­to­ber 8.

Ge­orge and the vic­tim had both been work­ing as shear­ing con­trac­tors in Ko­jonup and were drink­ing with oth­ers at a home be­fore they re­turned to Ge­orge’s home later in the night.

State pros­e­cu­tor David David­son said Ge­orge had be­come en­raged by the vic­tim re­peat­edly hug­ging him in a drunken state and an­noy­ing him.

He struck the vic­tim twice, in­clud­ing once to the head.

The 23-year-old fell back­wards from the punch and struck his head on the con­crete out­side the front steps of the home, which knocked him un­con­scious.

The court was told he re­mained in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion for two days in Royal Perth Hos­pi­tal with “trau­matic brain swelling”, re­quired mul­ti­ple life­sav­ing pro­ce­dures and was in a coma for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod.

Mr David­son de­scribed the in­ci­dent as a “senseless act of vi­o­lence” and called for an im­me­di­ate prison term.

He said the vic­tim had since suf­fered mem­ory loss and found it dif­fi­cult to swal­low be­cause of the brain in­jury.

“What­ever the sce­nario it was re­ally min­i­mal provo­ca­tion,” Mr David­son said.

“He had to be re­vived for sur­vival and with­out in­ter­ven­tion he would have died.”

Ge­orge’s de­fence lawyer said the punch was thrown with no ma­li­cious in­tent, re­fer­ring to wit­ness state­ments that de­scribed it as a “bug­ger-off punch”.

It was ac­cepted Ge­orge struck the man twice but only once to the head and while the in­juries re­ceived were at the higher end of the scale, the act fell to­wards the lower end of se­ri­ous­ness.

Judge Julie Wa­ger said one punch with al­co­hol in­volved could re­sult in “tragic cir­cum­stances” and gen­eral de­ter­rence was needed so peo­ple thought twice about re­sort­ing to vi­o­lence.

“That tragic event has im­pacted your life and sig­nif­i­cantly on his life,” she said.

“Peo­ple do have to know that if they be­come in­volved in vi­o­lence it isn’t go­ing to be tol­er­ated.”

Ge­orge was made el­i­gi­ble for pa­role with the sen­tenced back­dated from July 11.

That tragic event has im­pacted your life and sig­nif­i­cantly on his life. Judge Julie Wa­ger

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