Fire in a drum ignites assault

A WARRNAMBOOL man who bashed a neighbour and told him he wasn’t afraid of going to jail is now behind bars.

Grant Phillips, 43, of Verdon Street, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to recklessly causing injury, criminal damage and lighting a fire without a permit.

Police prosecutor, Leading Senior Constable Kevin Mullins, told the court this week that last year Phillips was at his house, which had fuel and scrub around it, when he lit a fire in a drum.

Phillips didn’t have a permit for the fire and was approached by the owner of a nearby caravan park who wanted to see what was going on.

Phillips approached the man and began verbally abusing him, then kneed him and wrestled his two-way radio out of his hand.

He then began kicking and punching the face of the victim, who tried to cover his head with his hands.

Council workers who were close by dragged Phillips off the man.

Phillips was charged and released on bail conditions which included that he not contact the victim.

At 6pm that night Phillips saw the victim arrive home from hospital and yelled abuse and threats, saying he was not afraid of going to jail. 

As a result of the incident he was arrested for breaching bail and remanded in custody.

Defence counsel Kathryn Moloney said the incident occurred after a long-standing dispute between Phillips and the victim.

She said alcohol had significantly affected her client’s judgment.

Ms Moloney said on this day Phillips began drinking at 6am and stopped at 10am.

Ms Moloney said Phillips’ greatest vice was drinking and he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of his child.

Magistrate Ron Saines said Phillips was a repeat offender with a history of assault, criminal damage and recklessly causing injury charges.

Mr Saines  said the injured neighbour  was no doubt trying to run his business and attract people to the caravan park.

He said no sentence other than prison was an appropriate one.

A three-month suspended sentence was restored.

Phillips was also convicted and sentenced to nine months in jail with a non-parole period of five months.

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