An assault in which a man seriously injured his brother had uncomfortable parallels to the case of cricketer David Hookes, who died after a one-punch assault, a court has heard.
Magistrate John Lesser made the comment when fining Rohan Watson, 29, of Mailors Flat, $2000 after he had pleaded guilty to recklessly causing serious injury to his brother outside the Hawkesdale Hotel on December 21 last year.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kevin Mullins told Warrnambool Magistrates Court Watson’s brother suffered serious head injuries when he fell, including brain bleeds and a fractured skull.
Mr Lesser said the case was one where the community expected the courts to impose penalties that gave a strong deterrence message.
He also took into account that Watson had no prior offences, immediately showed remorse and had rebuilt his relationship with his brother.
Mr Lesser said he understood the issue involved in the case was that Watson had acted in self-defence. He said he had imposed a large fine to give the message that people who commit violence would pay a price.
Leading Senior Constable Mullins said both Watson and his brother had been drinking for most of the day at the hotel and had a verbal argument before they had to be separated by other patrons.
They stepped outside, where they continued arguing, Leading Senior Constable Mullins said.
Watson pushed his brother to the face, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.
The victim was rushed to The Alfred hospital for treatment.
Pat McComish, for Watson, said the argument was a family dispute and a number of Watson’s siblings were present.
He said Watson’s brother had “squared up against” Watson and Watson pushed him in response.
He said Watson’s brother had fully recovered from the injuries and the family was relieved that no permanent damage had been suffered.
Watson and his brother quickly reconciled, Mr McComish said.