Alleged life-threatening brawl lands man in Charleville court
IT WAS one of the most shocking public fights on the streets of Tambo after a bit of pub banter turned into a brawl that left a man seriously injured.
Luke Thomas Walsh appeared in Charleville Magistrates Court on November 12 on the charges of grievous bodily harm, failure to appear in court, and contravention of a community service order.
Scott Helms Pocock and Wesley James Curnow, the latter appearing via telephone, both pleaded guilty to affray.
And while Pocock, 33, and Curnow, 38, were initially charged with grievous bodily harm, police prosecutor Sergeant Caroline Boodnikoff said prosecutions had no evidence to this charge, so changed it to affray.
Curnow also appeared for a separate sexting-related offence.
The court heard on November 1, 2019, the 30-year-old victim walked to the Tambo Tavern with his partner, where he had a meal and drinks with another couple from 6.30pm.
But as the victim and his group left the pub later in the night at 11.30pm, the victim's partner asked about a dog chain tied around a pot plant outside the hotel.
Sergeant Boodnikoff told the court that Walsh responded to the woman.
"If you want to be a bitch, I'll tie you up and pick you up in the morning," Walsh allegedly said on the night.
The victim's partner then said, "shut your mouth and stop being a wanker," according to sergeant Boodnikoff's recount.
After that encounter, the victim and his group left the vicinity and started heading south, but Walsh eventually yelled out to the victim, allegedly calling for a fight.
Walsh re-entered the premises, then left with his two mates Pocock and Curnow, then started running towards the victim's group.
It was the piercing sound of one of the ladies' screams that alerted the victim to Walsh's trio running up to them, only 100 metres away from the pub.
And soon enough, Walsh allegedly punched the victim multiple times, striking him in the face and shoulders.
Walsh fell on the victim's leg just after grabbing him by the shirt and slinging him to the ground, and couldn't get up.
Curnow and Pocock were present during the fight and were giving verbal encouragement to Walsh, and Curnow threw a beer can which splashed two of the victim's group members in the face.
"It's not alleged that Misters Pocock nor Curnow engaged in any physical violence with the complainant, nor cause any of the injuries," sergeant Boodnikoff said.
The victim was taken to Blackall Base Hospital but needed to be flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the Rockhampton Hospital, due to the extent of his injuries.
He needed surgery to fix his broken fibular and needed his tibia pinned with a steel rod.
Barrister Frank Martin, appearing for Pocock's solicitor Nathan Bouchier, told the court that the fence musterer would like to travel overseas in the future.
"He had no significant physical or mental health issues; he doesn't have any drug or alcohol problems," Mr Martin said.
Mr Martin tendered character references to the court, and he also told the court of an entry on Pocock's criminal record where he came out of a nightclub with a beer in his hand and kept drinking it when police told him to put it down.
Curnow's solicitor Frank Jongkind told the court that he has had problems with substance abuse in the past, with charges in 1999, 2011 and 2014.
"The defendant has now sought help with his drug problem," Mr Jongkind said.
He said Curnow committed the affray offence while on probation, which he has already been sentenced for.
Walsh, who represented himself, did not wish to comment about the grievous bodily harm offence, but told the court he completed his community service task but a corrective services officer said he sent the finished bracelets to the wrong place.
Magistrate Peter Saggers told Curnow and Pocock that what started out as banter, but what happened went too far.
"It went to the extent that there was an incident, which you two were not involved in, where somebody was badly hurt," Magistrate Saggers said.
"As two mature men... your role is to pull it up, not to encourage it."
Curnow and Pocock were both slapped with $1000 fines for affray, with a conviction recorded for Curnow but not Pocock.
As for Walsh's case, Magistrate Saggers said it would help if a witness, who is a medical professional, could provide more details about the potential threat the victim's life if the injury wasn't treated.
Walsh was committed to the District Court for the grievous bodily harm offence.
He was also slapped with a $350 for his failing to appear charge, and $250 for breaching a community service order, with no conviction recorded for either.