Warrnambool 'standover man' fined for baseball bat assault

A DISGRUNTLED Warr­nambool housemate who acted as a standover man due to a rental disagreement and belted a man with a baseball bat has been convicted and fined $450.

But Edward Michael Byrne, 45, of Ekard Avenue, has bigger problems as pleading guilty to assault with a weapon also breaches a county court-imposed suspended jail sentence.

Police alleged that about 9.30pm on August 8 last year Byrne was at home when he had a disagreement with a housemate about rent.

Byrne wanted the woman to move out but leave some of her property behind until she paid what he claimed was a debt.

The woman’s family and her boyfriend arrived and the boyfriend attempted to take a television out the back door of the house. 

Byrne became threatening, armed himself with a baseball bat, chased the boyfriend and struck the television which smashed into the man’s mouth. Byrne also hit the man to an arm.

The boyfriend suffered minor injuries and when arrested Byrne was remorseful and said it had been a misunderstanding.

Defence counsel Ara Blaker said her client was a disability pensioner who received $425 a week and paid $220 for private rental.

She said Byrne was under the impression he had a right to retain the woman’s property because he claimed she owed him money but he didn’t mean to hurt anybody.

Magistrate Peter Mellas said Byrne had acted as a standover man and the magistrate questioned what would have happened if all the people Byrne had ripped off in his last major fraud case had turned up with baseball bats.

He said Byrne had armed himself with a bat and deliberately hit the boyfriend while acting as a thug.

The magistrate said chasing and hitting someone with a baseball bat was no way to go about getting money Byrne thought he was owed.

Mr Mellas said Byrne had pleaded guilty and had no history of violence.

The magistrate said he had no power to act on the breach of the suspended jail sentence which would have to return to the county court to be dealt with, probably in the coming months.

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