Is­land lo­cal jailed af­ter bash­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Roanne John­son roanne. john­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.

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