Parents bashed in party brawl

THREE young Gympie men accused of assaulting and injuring their friend’s father at a birthday party finally admitted their guilt this week after nearly a year of denying it.

All three had pleaded not guilty since they were charged in August for their involvement in a party brawl at Mothar Mountain on July 11, 2009.

The matters were set for a committal hearing, however the first defendant, James Christopher O’Brien, 18, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Once he gave in, the next two followed, with Tyson Ashley Wynn, 18, and Amritpal Kulwinder Singh, 21, both pleading guilty to reduced charges.

Gympie Magistrates Court heard the matters arose from an incident at a combined 18th and 21st party held for a brother and sister at Mothar Mountain Hall.

Police said things got out of hand when party supervisors asked a group of girls to leave and O’Brien jumped to their defence, backed up by his friends Wynne and Singh.

According to the complainant, O’Brien jumped him from behind and he fell to the ground, hitting the bitumen face first. Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said the complainant was the host of the party and his wife became involved when she saw “a bunch of people” kicking him. She said she recognised O’Brien because he used to go to school with her son.

The court heard that about the same time a verbal argument started between O’Brien and a friend of the host. It was believed O’Brien threw the first punch and copped one back which started a brawl. This complainant claimed he was thrown to the ground, sat on and punched.

Defence lawyer Greg Wildie said his client had instructed him that he had gone to the party with his friends who were invited guests. O’Brien thought an older man was threatening the girls so he became involved and pushed him over.

“(O’Brien) felt something hit his head and then all hell broke loose,” Mr Wildie said.

“He was punching people, people were punching him... he was in the middle of a melee (but) he certainly didn’t go there with the intention to fight.

“It was an incident that escalated out of proportion because people were affected by alcohol.”

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin told the court she feared somebody would be killed in Gympie if nothing was done to deter young men from getting drunk and behaving violently.

“If you knew you were belting the father of the birthday boy what would you have done,” she asked and all three said they would have stopped if the had known.

“I (am willing) to do anything so you guys can say to your friends it’s not worth going before me for being violent. I need to send a clear message that violence won’t be tolerated in this community.

“A definite stand needs to be taken against the level of violence triggered by too much alcohol.”

O’Brien, of Alenola Street, was placed on six months’ probation with the condition he not consume any alcohol “to bring home to other young men the link between alcohol and violence”.

The court then heard from Wynne, a first-time offender who pleaded guilty to two counts of assault occasioning bodily. He said he remembered a lot of people joined in and he threw a couple of people to the ground.

“Believe it or not (the father) threw the first punch,” he said and told the court he was not very drunk at the time and didn’t hit anyone.

“Testosterone plus alcohol equals bad decisions,” Mrs Baldwin said and told him to spread the word to his friends that if they came to court for a serious first offence the punishment wouldn’t be a slap on the wrist. She placed Wynne, of Ironwood Close, and Singh, of Ramsay Road, Southside, on probation for six months.

Gympie Times

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