Assault ends with prison

IT was too late to apologise when Justin Alexander Morris appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court via video link from jail to answer to a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.

In a prepared speech, Morris, 19, said he was sorry to police and the public for the things he had done and the people he had hurt.

“I’m in prison for it. This is not the life I want to live...I’ve lost my house, my job, my car...I am such an idiot...I promise to do better when I get out of jail,” he said.

The court heard Morris had used up all his chances, having been placed on parole by the Gympie District Court for 15 months for intentionally endangering the safety of a person in a vehicle.

In April of last year he threw a bottle at the windscreen of a truck on the Bruce Highway after collecting his brother from the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

While on parole he committed more public nuisance offences and ended up with four intensive correction orders hanging over his head for driving charges, obstructing police, a number of public nuisance offences and breaches of probation, bail and court orders.

Morris’ parole was suspended on June 1, and he was sent back to prison to serve the remaining months after he was charged with the May 8 offence.

The court learned Morris and a dozen friends had harassed a Noosa Road resident and set upon him after they were asked to leave.

Morris and three others repeatedly punched and kicked the man while he was lying on the ground.

“It appears that despite the enormous effort and thought that has gone into your sentencing a large number of times...after all the assistance we have tried to give you (good behaviour bonds, probation, intensive correction orders) haven’t been able to turn your life around,” Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told him.

“All attempts have been undermined by alcoholism...You are an extremely troubled man...Alcohol has taken over your life and robbed you of judgement...It would take a lot of patience, determination and guts to change your ways, all of which you are lacking.

“Rather than think ‘if I get involved I’ll throw my life away’, in your mind you would’ve thought it would look weak in front of your friends.

“We have to stop the violence before (someone dies) in this town.

“We are nearly due for it.

“With the heaviest of hearts I revoke the intensive correction orders and sentence you to serve the remaining 292 days in custody.”

For the latest offence of assault occasioning bodily harm, Morris was sentenced to 12 months in prison with a parole eligibility date of June 1, 2011. The suspended sentence, which had already been extended to April 2011, was extended further to April 2012.

“It grieves me to see a young man looking at serving the next 10 months in prison. The price is high for a few alcoholic drinks.”

Gympie Times

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