Man fined for as­sault

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY NEWS AND VIEWS -

MAG­IS­TRATE Ron Muir­head said he was “prob­a­bly stretch­ing the law to the limit” in not record­ing a con­vic­tion in a one-punch case heard in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trate’s Court this week.

Harry James Fred­er­ick Turner pleaded guilty to as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing bod­ily harm and was fined $800 and or­dered to pay $300 com­pen­sa­tion.

The 22-year-old mem­ber of the UK De­fence Force chose to rep­re­sent him­self on Mon­day de­spite Mr Muir­head’s ad­vice that this was a se­ri­ous charge where a solic­i­tor might be bet­ter speak­ing on his be­half.

The court heard that at 1.30am on March 1, Turner and his vic­tim were both in­side Air­lie’s Mama Africa night­club where the al­ter­ca­tion oc­curred.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor El­iz­a­beth Smith said Turner had tried to shake hands with the vic­tim who then called him a “c**t”, lead­ing Turner to punch him in the face.

Ms Smith said the vic­tim, a 27-year-old man, fell to the ground in a dazed state. She said his right eye and cheek were swollen and bruised and he ex­pe­ri­enced some pain.

Turner told the court he’d never done any­thing like this be­fore in his life.

He said he didn’t drink and wasn’t un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol at the time. He told the court the vic­tim had ap­proached him and called him a “stupid c**t”, at which he left the club but re­turned to try to “square things away”.

It was when he was ver­bally abused for a sec­ond time that he re­acted by throw­ing the punch.

Mr Muir­head con­ceded “there ap­pears to be some provo­ca­tion” but Ms Smith pointed out “ob­vi­ously it’s a dis­pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse”.

Mr Muir­head said nonethe­less while quite of­ten th­ese types of of­fences led to pri­son terms “I think that’d be un­fair in this case”.

Wil­son was deemed un­suit­able for pro­ba­tion or com­mu­nity ser­vice by Treen Con­nolly from the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tive Ser­vices be­cause of his im­mi­nent travel plans. Mr Muir­head there­fore set­tled on a fine and chose not to record the con­vic­tion due to the ef­fect it might have on Turner’s po­si­tion with the UK De­fence Force and on care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of the facts.

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