Man to miss first child’s birth after fight in Coles

A MAN wept in court yesterday and pleaded with a magistrate as he was told he would be in prison during the birth of his first child.

Laurence John Betts, 25, faced Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday charged with public nuisance and contravening a police direction or requirement after a fight in the Gympie Coles car park on February 7.

The prosecutor told the court that Betts was in the car park when two other men he knew became involved in an argument.

Defence lawyer Chris Anderson said Betts approached the pair with "no ill will" and attempted to stop the argument, but one of the men made a comment to him that resulted in some "argy bargy" between Betts and the man.

Betts told the court he initially had no intention of getting into a fight.

"I was just trying to stop something from happening and it escalated," he said.

Betts initially told police he reacted in self-defence, but CCTV footage later depicted him as the physical aggressor.

Mr Anderson asked magistrate M. Baldwin to take into account Betts' early plea and consider his partner would soon give birth to their first child.

Mrs Baldwin said that with Betts' long history of breaches, she had no choice but to invoke his suspended sentence, handing down five months jail with a parole date for September 5.

Betts pleaded with Mrs Baldwin as she handed down her judgement.

"Your Honour, please," he interjected at one point.

"Will you be quiet, please? This is being recorded as a judgement," Mrs Baldwin replied.

She said Betts had already been given a total of 79 months in prison sentences, most of that suspended or served concurrently.

"Every possible effort has been made for you," she said.

"The game is up."

She also fined Betts $330 for failing to present himself at the Gympie Police Station in relation to the matter.

Betts embraced his partner before he was led to the dock.

"I'm going to miss the birth," he said.

Gympie Times


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