A MAN who stomped on the head of another man during a drunken brawl, breaking the victim's jaw in two places, has narrowly avoided serving time behind bars.
From one extreme to the other, a judge this week praised the same violent man's quick offer to pass a cup of water to a juror who felt faint during his trial.
Ian Jeffrey Brown was both on probation and a suspended sentence at the time of the fight in September last year.
The 21-year-old confronted a man who he believed was causing trouble with Brown's sister during the night out.
A verbal argument between the two quickly turned physical, with the Warwick District Court this week hearing the victim may have been the one to throw the first punch.
All of the witnesses to the fight were intoxicated at the time. Brown retaliated and punched the other man, causing him to fall onto the ground.
While the man was down, Brown was seen to "kick and then stomp" the man's head, causing his jaw to break in two places.
Prosecutor Ken Spinaze told the court the serious injuries could have left the victim deformed and disfigured, had it not been treated immediately.
He added that the man's jaw was rewired after the attack and although he is still suffering from some of the effects, he is expected to make a full recovery.
Judge Greg Koppenol scolded Brown on both his behaviour that night and his "short but concerning" criminal history.
"Kicking someone on the ground is very un-Australian - a cowardly thing to do," Mt Koppenol said.
"You used excessive force and went over the top in what you did."
Mr Koppenol conceded that he did not believe Brown had intended to attack the man that evening.
The 21-year-old was supported in court by his girlfriend, mother and other family members, who were visibly upset during the proceedings.
Brown pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to 19 months jail, wholly suspended for two years.
- The victim had his head stomped and kicked
- Treatment involved the insertion of a metal plate and pins to rewire it
- Jaw function has now returned, however some nerve damage remains