No jail for league player who punched man
A BUNDABERG rugby league player who punched a man over abusive comments directed at his girlfriend will serve a nine-month jail term in the community.
Facing the Bundaberg District Court yesterday, Muthuna Ronald Jones, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm in relation to the March 27 incident, which happened in Targo St.
The victim, 22-year-old Adrian Pope, was punched once to the face. The impact broke his left front tooth and caused a puncture wound to his lip.
Crown prosecutor David Nardone said Jones and Pope were known to each other and CCTV footage showed Jones speaking to another person.
"Mr Jones turned from the person and with one fist struck a blow to the complainant,” he said.
Although police were nearby when the assault occurred, no complaint was made at the time and it was later reported by Mr Pope.
Mr Nardone said while there was no suggestion of drunkenness, the incident was late-night violence in public.
Defence barrister Simone Bain said her client accepted he had overreacted and with the benefit of hindsight should have simply walked away.
"He did react in the heat of the moment,” she said.
Ms Bain said Jones was someone who seemed committed to keeping out of trouble and was heavily involved in his rugby league club.
"He trains twice a week, he's reliable and turns up for his games,” she said.
In sentencing, Judge Brian Devereaux said he accepted Jones believed Mr Pope was being disrespectful to his partner, which set the incident slightly apart from senseless late-night drunken violence.
But he said it was well known that a single punch could kill.
"Your offence was an act of violence in public at night and one the public rightly takes strong acceptance to,” Judge Devereaux said.
He sentenced Jones to a nine-month intensive correction order.