Gympie region neighbour feud ends in assault of 70-year-old
A COOLOOLA Cove man has avoided jail for punching and pushing his 70-year-old neighbour earlier this year, but not before he delayed court proceedings to argue with the police prosecutor.
Joseph Deniel English, 25, had been embroiled in a dispute with his next-door neighbour for as long as two years before their spat reached boiling point on January 28 this year, Gympie Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
English came out the front door of his house and approached the victim at around 5.30pm that afternoon "in an aggressive manner", before repeatedly blocking the victim's path as he tried to move around him.
Prosecuting Sergeant Mick Phillips said English then punched the victim to the cheek with a closed fist, followed by a push which caused him to fall to the ground.
A witness who saw the assault while in a passing car then saw English standing over the victim and yelling at him, the court heard.
That witness told the driver to turn the car around, after which they called out to English and the latter went back inside.
The victim lay on the ground and reportedly couldn't move until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital.
English initially told Magistrate Chris Callaghan he had agreed with the contested facts of the incident but later indicated otherwise, saying the victim had "provoked" the assault.
Mr Callaghan then adjourned the court, also warning English he would end up seated in the dock after the latter caused repeated interruptions.
"You can't agree to something and then pull away from it," he told English.
Upon resuming the matter Mr Callaghan noted the victim's impact statement, which detailed further visits to the doctor after hospital for pain relief as well as his "jumpy", "nervous" and sleep-deprived state following the attack.
He said English, who works as a carer for his father, would escape a prison sentence because of his youth and complete lack of criminal history.
English pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful assault of a person over 60.
Mr Callaghan fined him $500 in addition to $1500 for compensation to the victim, but a conviction was not recorded against him.
English was also ordered not to have any contact with the victim for two years.