A Warrnambool man bashed unconscious in an alcohol-fuelled attack is still recovering eight months later.
Luke Featherby, 20, attended Warrnambool's Flying Horse Bar with his father on November 16 to celebrate a new job.
He left with a broken nose and thumb, fractures to his jaw and left eye socket, chest trauma and a puncture to his lower lip from his own tooth.
Warrnambool's Blair Oakley, 21, of McPherson Crescent, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to recklessly causing injury.
He was placed on a two-year corrections order with conditions he do 240 hours of unpaid community work and treatment for alcohol abuse.
Court documents obtained by The Standard revealed Oakley went into the men's toilets and approached the victim, who recognised him from playing football and parties around town. Oakley allegedly asked the victim if he remembered him, in which Mr Featherby replied: "Are you still holding a grudge? I'll buy you a beer if you like." Oakley refused the drink and punched Mr Featherby twice to the face before walking away.
The pair were later observed walking outside together into a car park. A witness told police both men charged at each other and threw punches.
Oakley allegedly struck the victim to the head, causing him to lose consciousness and fall to the ground. He then leaned over, punched him to the face and walked away.
Mr Featherby said his father found him lying on the ground unconscious.
"Dad came out because he heard people yelling. He saw me on the ground and turned me over onto my side," he said. "I think that was a bit traumatic for him."
Police said a hotel manager drove the victim to the Warrnambool Base Hospital.
"All I remember is looking up at the sky and thinking it was the morning. Then I woke up in hospital and I was spewing up," Mr Featherby said. "I had to have surgery to have a plate put in my thumb and I had a few MRIs to see if there was any brain damage. They came back all clear but I've had headaches and dizziness for months.
"I couldn't drive because of the dizziness. I couldn't work and I couldn't go to the gym or footy training which was hard because that's a pretty good stress relief.
"I've lost $3000 or $4000 through loss of income and medical expenses and I'm only just getting better.
"I'm back playing football now but have to wear a helmet. I'm still recovering."
Oakley attended the Warrrnambool police station on November 21.
During a police interview he admitted punching the victim twice in the face as hard as he could. He said he had a grudge against the victim after an incident in December, 2017.
Oakley's mother Shirlene told the court her son never intended to seriously injure the victim and was sorry, remorseful and "pretty upset".
But magistrate Ann McGarvie asked the mother to consider what would happen if her son had lost his job, his ability to drive, had sleeping problems, anxiety, dizziness and expensive medical bills to pay as a result of the alcohol-fuelled attack.
"You would be absolutely ropeable and you would want that person locked up, away from other victims wouldn't you?" she asked the mother who replied: "Yes, probably."
The magistrate said it was the second time Oakley had come into contact with police, after previously recording a blood-alcohol reading of 0.07 while driving.
"This ought to be a huge wake up call that perhaps you and alcohol don't work," she said.
Ms McGarvie said Oakley was lucky he wasn't facing a manslaughter charge.
In sentencing, she said she had considered Oakley's age, lack of prior criminal history, early guilty plea and community support.
Mr Featherby declined to comment on the sentence.
He said when he went out for a few beers with his dad, he never expected to wake up with serious injuries.
"You don't expect that, especially at a family restaurant like the Flying Horse," he said.
"I just hope he (Oakley) gets some help so that people don't have to worry about getting hit on a night out. You can kill people doing that, it's really dangerous."
Following the assault, Oakley was excluded from all Warrnambool licensed premises for a period of two years. That exclusion order is ongoing.
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