Ian Lee Howard
Ian Lee Howard

Man accused of spitting, trying to stab victim at Gympie hotel

AFTER being called out for breaching a Gympie venue’s COVID restrictions, a man allegedly tried to stab a man through his car window and spat on him during the argument.

Ian Lee Howard, 38, faced the Gympie Magistrates Court this week charged with assault and a public nuisance offence for his violent, “over reactive” outburst, and initially pleaded guilty.

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Queensland, Gympie’s Mt Pleasant Hotel displayed a sign telling all patrons to stay inside their vehicles, and offered a drive through service for alcohol.

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On April 21, while waiting in the line up, Mr Howard was allegedly seen getting out of his car, selecting a drink from the store and then going back to his car.

The complainant, a 51-year-old man in the car behind Mr Howard, called him out for ignoring the rules, and said something along the lines of “can’t you read, you fool.”

The police prosecutor said Mr Howard and the man argued, before Mr Howard grabbed a metal level out of his car, came back attempted to stab at him with the level through the open window.

The court heard he allegedly jabbed the level at the man a number of times, narrowly missing him, and threatened to smash the man’s windscreen with it.

The complainant then tried to video the attack but Mr Howard noticed and tried to grab the man’s phone.

The complainant yelled out “get away”, before Mr Howard allegedly spat on the man four times, worrying him as he was a high risk for COVID-19, with severe cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Mr Howard was aggressive, swore at the victim, and his reaction was “out of proportion” to the situation, the police prosecutor said.

On April 30, police attended Mr Howard’s house and he admitted to getting the level from his car after being “provoked’ but denied spitting, and this week told the court he “definitely” had not spat.

“Well that’s a particular of the assault,” Magistrate Chris Callaghan said.

“Why are you pleading guilty?

“We’ll set it down for a hearing.”

Mr Callaghan did not accept Mr Howard’s guilty plea, and the matter was adjourned.

Gympie Times


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