Two young men who violently attacked two teenagers on their way home from playing table tennis in Warrnambool have escaped a jail term.
Brody Harrison Burke, 21, and Bon Dylan Pails, 23, were sentenced at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Friday.
Magistrate Letizia Torres said the two young teenagers did nothing to provoke the attack which was "difficult to watch", "confronting" and "upsetting".
"It is incomprehensible to me how they became victims to such serious and random violence," she said.
"The 16-year-old boy was headbutted with such force he was flung halfway across the street.
"The level of violence is disgusting."
The second victim, a 17-year-old boy, was punched to the face and fell to the ground before a soccer ball-style kick was delivered directly to his head.
It takes only one strike or fall on the wrong spot and we could have had a homicide case.Magistrate Letizia Torres
He was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with a fractured skull, cheekbone and eye socket, and bleeding on the brain behind the fracture.
Ms Torres said the victim suffered "profound" lasting effects from the assault, including problems with memory, pain, dental discomfort, anxiety and anger.
The court heard the victim's mother experienced ongoing worry and despair over her son's well-being and the ongoing court proceedings.
Ms Torres said Burke, who was 19 years old at the time, attacked the teenagers in an intoxicated state but it was unclear why he started the violence.
She said she rejected the assertion Burke was frightened or threatened by the young victim and she viewed the attack as "completely unprovoked".
The court heard Burke lived with his parents in Cape Clear and had one prior drink-driving offence.
Ms Torres said she was not convinced Burke had true insight into his alcohol abuse and more work needed to be done in response to his "excessive drinking".
Pails, who was 21 at the time of the offence, was intoxicated and vomiting in the bushes when Burke started the attack.
Defence lawyer Adrian Paull submitted Pails misread the situation and became involved thinking Burke needed assistance and therefore he should receive a lesser sentence.
In her sentencing remarks, Ms Torres said she needed to take into account Pails and Burke's youth and the delay to the case reaching a resolution since the offence in January 2018.
"The delay has shown both have progressed on their rehabilitation journey. To jail them now would interrupt that path," she said.
Burke was convicted and sentenced to a three-year community corrections order with requirements he undergo supervision and assessment and treatment for binge drinking.
He must make a donation of $5000, half to the Warrnambool Base Hospital and half to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
He is banned from attending bars or nightclubs for one year and must not consume alcohol in any other venue.
Burke will return to court in six months for judicial monitoring.
"You could have killed those boys. It takes only one strike or fall on the wrong spot and we could have had a homicide case," Ms Torres said.
"I hope you understand that."
Pails was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order with a requirement he complete 200 hours unpaid community work, alcohol treatment and return to court in six months for judicial monitoring.
"That kick could have killed the victim," Ms Torres said when sentencing Pails.
"He was a boy and he was on the ground when you assaulted him.
"You have narrowly avoided going to jail today.
"This was a difficult decision for me."
Pails and Burke were supported by family members at court.
The victim's mother and her partner watched the sentencing via video link from court at Warrnambool.
The victims were unknown to the Ballarat men.