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Even if it's over $1.70, one punch can still kill

When a man believed he had been shortchanged by $1.70 at a ten pin bowling centre, he punched the man serving him.
When a man believed he had been shortchanged by $1.70 at a ten pin bowling centre, he punched the man serving him. FILE

IT WASN'T a night club and there was no alcohol, but violence can occur anywhere and over anything - even in a ten pin bowling centre and even over a $1.70.

That was the story that unfolded in Gympie Magistrates Court this week, when 17-year-old Robert James Ryder pleaded guilty to punching a man in the face at Gympie Ten Pin last month.

The teen, who recently became a father, had been a loyal customer at the centre for more than 10 years, but something made him see red when he ordered a meal during a round of ten pin with his family on January 11.

The customer bought a serving of wedges, sour cream and a soft drink for $13.

He thought it should cost $11.30 and a disagreement began over $1.70, the defendant's lawyer Mark Oliver told the court.

The centre's owner asked Ryder to calm down or leave, but the angry teen punched the owner in the face and minutes later had to be pulled off him on the ground. The man was left with a swollen face and cut lip.

"You're very fortunate," Magistrate M. Baldwin told the man in court.

"One punch can kill.

"If that man had fallen the wrong way and died - your child would be your age before you'd be out of jail."

Mr Oliver told the court his client suffered from an anger management problem and was triggered when the other man had "gotten into his client's face."

Magistrate Baldwin told the man anybody who came before her court charged with violence faced jail.

"If you're going to be violent in the community you lose the right to live amongst us," she said.

"Don't punch people over $1.70 - don't punch people over anything," she exclaimed.

In view of the defendant's age and lack of history, the magistrate placed him on 12 months probation, which included an anger management program.

"Go back to your bowling- if you're allowed - and keep calm."

Gympie Times

Topics:  crime, editors picks, violence




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