Bar head-butt cops a $3000 fine, conviction
A 25-year-old Bunbury man has been refused a spent conviction and fined $3000 for head-butting a man at Fitzgerald’s Irish Bar.
Michael Bradley Ireland left his victim with a broken nose and tooth before telling police he thought the man was going to punch him so he “got in first and head-butted him”.
Ireland appeared in Bunbury Magistrates Court on Monday when he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm over the November 11, 2018 attack.
Ireland was in the pool room of the nightclub about 3am on the morning of the incident when the other man whispered something in his ear.
Ireland reacted by turning to speak to a friend and reversing his cap before turning back to the victim and head-butting him.
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The force of the hit saw the victim stagger back before he left the room and received medical treatment by bar staff.
Ireland later told police that he was intoxicated and could not remember what the man had whispered in his ear, but that it must have provoked him.
Defence lawyer Ntuthuko Mcingolwane said Ireland was “very” remorseful for his actions, which were out of character and he had been to a counselling session since.
Mr Mcingolwane said Ireland wanted to apologise to the victim and was willing to pay medical costs.
He argued that due to Ireland’s youth and lack of record for similar offending he was eligible for a spent conviction, despite previously being granted one for an unrelated matter.
Police prosecutors objected to the application, saying it was a serious assault that resulted in serious injuries that “could have been worse”.
Magistrate Evan Shackleton warned Ireland that the maximum penalty he faced was five years behind bars or a $24,000 fine.
Magistrate Shackleton said the offence was aggravated by the head-butt and because it occurred at a licensed premises where “these things go on”.
He said the assault was a serious matter that was in the public’s interest enough not to allow a spent conviction.
Magistrate Shackleton refused the application and fined Ireland $3000 plus costs of $107.50.
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