Man pays for drunken assault at Childers pub

JUDGE Leanne Clare has described a "frightening loss of self control" by a man who continued to punch his victim several times even after he had rendered him unconcious.

The incident happened in the Federal Hotel in Childers just before Christmas in 2017 and on Tuesday, Rhys James Conrad Gotje, 28, pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm in Bundaberg District Court.

Gotje, who's criminal history goes back to age 17, was ordered to pay his victim $5000 in compensation as part of his sentence.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook told the court Gotje and the complainant had never met until their paths crossed at the Federal Hotel.

Gotje was travelling to Cairns from the Gold Coast with some friends when they almost hit a police officer in the car.

The driver was taken to Childers Police Station while Gotje and another friend went to the hotel to wait.

Later that evening, Gotje and the complainant were in the hotel's beer garden where they were engaged in a conversation about concreting work.

In CCTV footage shown to the court, the complainant could be seen pointing and waving at Gotje. Friends tried to calm the situation but things continued to escalate.

CCTV footage showed the complainant pushed Gotje who then punched the man twice. He was unconscious before he hit the ground.

Gotje was then seen on top of the man. He punched him in the face six times, fracturing his nose and eye socket.

Gotje's barrister Callan Cassidy told the court his client was remorseful immediately after the offence.

He said the first two punches were in self defence after being pushed by the victim and that Gotje accepted his behaviour was excessive.

CCTV footage confirmed Gotje had wanted to wait for the ambulance to arrive, but was told to leave.

Gotje had previously engaged in courses and programs to help with alcohol issues and anger management. He also offered to pay the victim compensation

Judge Clare took into account Gotje's guilty plea, accepted he was genuinely remorseful and the prosecution's concession the complainant made comments before Gotje retaliated.

"It was a frightening loss of self control," she said.

"As a sober person you have shown to be kind and helpful."

She said there was evidence of progress in rehabilitation and sentenced Gotje to 18 months imprisonment with immediate parole.

She also ordered him to pay the victim $5000 in compensation.



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