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Australia Day celebrations turn to violence at Gympie pub

ONE punch was enough to turn Mary St into the scene of a heated brawl recently; but what made authorities even more concerned was that one punch can kill.

Australia Day celebrations turned to mass violence outside the Royal Hotel last month when 18-year-old Guy Joseph Dillon Butler allegedly punched another pub goer in the face.

Gympie man Butler told Gympie Magistrates Court the alleged blow to the jaw, which instigated a group fight outside the Royal, was struck after the victim gave him the finger.

The court herd when the victim then turned on Butler, "a large brawl subsequently erupted" involving numerous pub patrons.

Butler said he could remember little of the fight however police said CCTV footage recorded his actions that day.

The court heard Butler was arrested during the incident, taken to hospital for a laceration to the inside of his mouth and charged with causing a public nusiance.

One warning was given to Butler from Magistrate Maxine Baldwin on Monday; that had faced a more severe charge relating to the alleged assault, a jail sentence would have been likely.

"Jail is a last resort except when violence (is involved)," he told him.

"Too many people are dying and too many young people are spending (years in jail).

"I'm just glad you're here and we're not doing an inquiry into someone's death."

She referred to the death of a Brisbane grandfather on Saturday after a 21-year-old man, out with friends, allegedly struck him with a coward punch in Mooloolaba.

The 21-year-old has was subsequently charged with murder.

"One punch, he was dead; a grandfather, a father," Magistrate Baldwin said.

Butler's defence said he too took a blow to the face during the January 26 fight.

It is unknown whether others involved in the Australia Day fight will also face charges, however Gympie Magistrates Court did hear several people had been arrested and kept in Gympie Watch house after the fight.

Butler pleaded guilty to the public nuisance charge and was given a 12 month good behaviour bond.

Topics:  violence

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