Suspended jail term for 'proven thug'

A TALENTED ruckman who punched and kicked a Warrnambool man lying on the ground  received a suspended jail sentence yesterday.

James Keane, 23, of Conns Lane, Illowa, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court during early February to affray and two charges of recklessly causing injury.

Magistrate Peter Mellas placed Keane on a community corrections order and ordered he return to court for judicial monitoring before sentencing was finalised.

The magistrate heard yesterday Keane has been complying with the order, had attended his appointments and returned clear drug screens.

Mr Mellas said Keane was doing well and he imposed a 14-day jail term which was suspended for 10 months on top of the current CCO.

Police previously alleged that on September 8 last year Keane and an unknown co-accused were in Timor Street at 2am when they came across the victim, who Keane had known for 10 years, and they argued.

The victim felt threatened and to avoid the confrontation ran towards Liebig Street.

Keane and the co-accused chased after the victim and the co-accused punched the victim to the head causing him to fall on the pavement.

The victim lifted his hands to his face to protect himself as the two men continued to punch then kick the victim to his face.

The victim needed four stitches to his right eye which is permanently scarred.

At 11.15pm on July 28 last year Keane was at the Cally Hotel where he had an argument with another man.

Keane threw three punches at the victim with one landing and causing the victim to fall to the ground.

Defence counsel Matt Senia said Keane was employed as a foreman at his father’s business and was an accomplished footballer.

He said Keane no longer drank alcohol, had a baby son and was petrified of going to jail.

Mr Mellas said Keane was a proven thug and had added to the community’s feeling of fear in the streets.

He said Keane had hunted down one of his victims with another man and that victim would be scarred for years.

Mr Mellas said the common factor in Keane’s offending was alcohol and arguing with people and if that continued the defendant was destined to spend time in jail.

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