Insulted uncle off to jail

A MAN has been sent to jail for six months after a pub glassing incident in which he seriously wounded another man in the face with a schooner.

Christopher James Rayner, 34, appeared in the District Court sitting in Warwick yesterday morning charged with unlawful wounding, to which he pleaded guilty.

The court heard the Nobby resident was attending a fancy-dress birthday party with family and friends at a hotel in Clifton on the evening of November 5 last year and had consumed what his lawyer described as a “moderate” quantity of alcohol.

The victim of the incident was a 61-year-old man who was drinking by himself at the hotel and who, at one point in the evening, made an insulting remark to another person relating to a 17-year-old niece of Rayner’s, who was attending the birthday celebration.

Crown Prosecutor Isaac Munsie told the court the man called Rayner’s niece “a slut”, to which Rayner took considerable offence.

He advanced towards the 61-year-old who said words to the effect of: “What are you going to do about it?”, at which point Rayner took a sip from his schooner of beer and swung the glass into the man’s face.

The court heard the glass smashed in the area of the victim’s left eye and temple and caused a deep, 1.5cm-long cut to the man’s eyelid and also damaged his tear duct, injuries which later required extensive medical treatment.

But Rayner did not stop there, continuing with his attack by punching his victim repeatedly, causing him to fall to the floor, where Rayner launched a series of kicks before being restrained by other patrons of the hotel.

Rayner later told police he had glassed the man as he was bigger than himself and had been concerned the victim might have otherwise “got the better of him”.

Mr Munsie conceded to District Court Judge Marshall Irwin there had been “some degree of provocation” on the part of the victim.

But he also emphasised that any sentence imposed on Rayner would need to reflect the “outrage” the community felt over glassing incidents, which he said were becoming alarmingly commonplace in licensed premises.

He submitted that the sentence should be in the range of 18 months jail, with six months actual time to be served.

Barrister Robbie Davies, who appeared for Rayner, said the matter had been complicated by the fact that the girl insulted by the 61-year-old was his own son’s girlfriend.

Mr Davies said his client accepted he had over-reacted to the slur against his niece but the assault was not pre-meditated and his client had only consumed a modest amount of alcohol.

He also said Rayner, who has a previous history of drug offences, had successfully completed a rehab course and had not appeared in court for nearly a decade.

Judge Irwin accepted a slight degree of provocation but pointed out to Rayner that he had used significant force with the beer glass and that “kicking someone when they were down on the floor is particularly cowardly”.

He accepted the Crown’s submission on sentencing and gave Rayner 18 months jail, to serve six months of actual time and for the remainder of his sentence to be suspended for three years.

Rayner was allowed to spend a few moments with his partner and their four-month-old child before being escorted from the courtroom to the watch house.

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