Island local jailed after bashing
A WELL-KNOWN Magnetic Island local has been jailed for breaking the jaw of a man he allegedly caught out spying with binoculars on young boys.
Duanne James Braggins, 4 6 , was labelled a vigilante yesterday by Judge Michael Shanahan after pleading guilty to a charge of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm in the Townsville District Court.
But in the hospitality worker’s defence, barrister Greg Lynham argued that the defendant had found out the 61-year-old complainant may be a convicted paedophile.
‘‘ He learned that the man had previously served a period of imprisonment for child sex offences,’’ Mr Lynham said.
‘‘ This information caused my client a great deal of concern, it had caused some disputes in times gone past, and he chose not to associate with him.’’
However Mr Lynham said soon after Braggins claimed to have caught the complainant with a pair of binoculars spying on young boys while they played tennis at the Magnetic Island recreation centre on October 28, 2010.
‘‘ My client reported it to Department of Communities, which runs the facility, and the police who later spoke to the man,’’ he said.
Eleven days later on November 9, 2010, the accused, who had been drinking heavily at Picnic Bay Hotel after the recent death of his son in a motorcycle accident, ran into the alleged paedophile at a mutual friend’s Magnetic Island home.
Crown prosecutor Skye Jerome said the defendant punched the man as he sat in a chair on a veranda, hitting him three times to the face and yelling ‘‘ you’ve been spying on kids . . . you’re a paedo’’.
The complainant, who claimed he had been watching the boys because he thought they were going to start a fire, was taken to the Nelly Bay medical centre by ambulance.
Ms Jerome said the victim had to be taken for surgery at the Townsville Hospital and required a titanium plate and five metal screws to be inserted in his face to repair a broken jaw.
In a police interview Braggins, who drank 12 beers before the assault, said he did not lay a hand on the complainant, claiming it was a verbal altercation, not a physical one.
Mr Lynham argued that his client was acting with ‘‘ a strong sense of community’’ when he reported the matter to the authorities but had made a mistake days later in a snap decision after a chance encounter while intoxicated.
But Judge Shanahan said Braggins had to be dealt with by the law for taking the matter into his own hands.
‘‘ It has elements of vigilantism and this type of behaviour must be dissuaded,’’ he said.
‘‘ You were 45, the victim was 61, and with three punches to the face you fractured his jaw to the extent he had to spend four days in hospital.’’
The defendant, who has lived on the island for 20 years, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, to be suspended after serving six months.