Lifesaver 'arrests' beach bully

A YOUNG man who bullied an intellectually disabled boy at Rainbow Beach on Australia Day was brought before Gympie Magistrates Court this week on a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Gavin Keith Ford, 20, was arrested by an off-duty police officer, on volunteer lifesaving patrols, for crash tackling the 15-year-old boy into the sand.

Ford and his friends had been teasing the boy about his swimming togs for half an hour before an “obnoxious and intoxicated” Ford decided to run up and tackle him with force.

The incident prompted a beachgoer to offer himself as a witness because he was disgusted by what he saw.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said the victim was treated for abrasions and a cut in his mouth from biting his tongue on impact.

“(Ford) showed no remorse and behaved as though it was all a bit of fun,” she said.

“He thought because he apologised it should make it okay. Prosecution suggests a period of probation.”

Defence solicitor Travis George agreed.

“I won’t quibble with prosecutions submission,” he said and added that his client had no history of violence and was intoxicated at the time.

“He had been drinking in the sun... the incident happened late in the day... there had been peer pressure on him,” Mr George told the court.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin was “nearly dumbstruck by the gratuitous violence” saying it was “disturbing and worrying”.

“I can’t understand how you would just decide to attack someone. There’s nothing tough about attacking a younger person.”

“To me it’s just gutless to attack someone more vulnerable,” Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said of Gavin Ford’s bullying behaviour and perused his criminal history.

“It’s typical of young people — not particularly that bad. You need to understand what it’s like to be bullied and what it’s like to be intellectually disabled,” she said and placed Ford, of Wolsely Street, Granville, on probation for 12 months.

Gympie Times


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