Man jailed for traffic-stopping knife attack

DRIVERS watched in horror as a knife fight over a woman erupted in a Warrnambool street, bringing daytime traffic to a standstill, a court has heard.

Aaron Watson, 31, admitted affray in the Warrnambool Magistrate’s Court yesterday and was jailed for two months.

Watson, of Rutledge Street, Warrnambool, is said to have driven three brothers to a school at the corner of Lava and Henna streets to confront another person over a woman in October last year

Text messages involving a former girlfriend of one of the brothers prompted the men to try to confront the victim.

Police said when the victim appeared, one of the brothers produced a knife and tried to stab him in the chest. 

There was a confrontation and the situation spilled out on to the street at 1.30pm on a working day, causing traffic to come to a standstill.

The court heard the victim ended up on the ground being attacked by the brothers and Watson.

One of the brothers received a slash wound to his hand and was treated at Warrnambool Base Hospital. The victim received a black eye, cuts and grazes.

The court heard Watson told police he drove the brothers so they could “bash the victim”. One co-accused, who was also charged with other offences, was jailed for 14 months — three months for his part in the bashing.

Another brother was placed on a 200-hour community corrections order.

Defence counsel Kiernan Celestina said his client initially stood aside as the brothers confronted the victim. 

He was not aware there was going to be a knife produced and it was only at a later stage his client became involved, Mr Celestina said.

Magistrate Michael Coghlan rejected the submission that Watson was involved only on the periphery of the assault.

He said statements indicated that at one stage Watson alone continued bashing the 18-year-old victim.

The magistrate said Watson drove the three brothers to the school, the four men then got out of the car, one armed with a knife, and then attacked the victim in the middle of a busy Warrnambool road.

He said those actions would have alarmed members of the public and Watson made no effort to intervene and stop the assault when the knife was produced.

“You then joined in, became involved, at one stage on your own. It was pretty damn cowardly, four on one,” he said.

Mr Coghlan said the offence warranted a term of imprisonment even before considering Watson’s considerable prior court appearances, which included violence offences in 2003 and 2009.

Watson received three month’s imprisonment with two months to be served immediately and one month suspended for 12 months. His licence was also suspended for three months because he drove co-offenders to the beating.

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