A WOMAN in labour had to referee a fight between her stepfather and partner as things turned violent in her birthing suite at the Gympie Hospital.
Gympie Magistrates Court heard on Monday the maternity ward turned into a circus on June 19, as the men began bickering about hygiene after the partner allegedly saw stepfather Darren Craig Quetcher blow his nose and then touch his stepdaughter.
The court heard the men's long-standing hostility towards each other boiled over in the ward.
Quetcher's defence said having cared for his premature daughter after she was born, Quetcher was fully aware of the importance around newborns and their mothers of hygiene and had only rubbed the bridge of his nose as it was irritated by his glasses.
The disagreement turned physical when Quetcher pushed his stepdaughter's partner in the chest after the man allegedly breached Quetcher's personal space.
The court heard the push landed the partner into medical equipment. The stepdaughter, who was in the early stages of labour with her first child, attempted to intervene, but her efforts were in vain as the pushing turned to punching.
The court heard Quetcher punched the partner in the face, connecting with his eye and pushing it inwards.
The drama ended once hospital security was called and the midwife said one of the pair would have to go.
Quetcher chose to leave and the court heard he has not seen his stepdaughter since.
The punch to the partner's face required treatment for the next few days.
While the defence said it was the partner who was the initial aggressor and Quetcher had told police he hadn't thrown the punch, Quetcher pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.
He was sentenced to 40 hours community service.