Man fined for assault
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.