Mother and daughter found guilty of car park brawl

THREE people have been found guilty of assault charges after a brawl in a South Grafton car park which left an 18-year-old man with a fractured jaw and split teeth.

The incident, involving two groups of people, took place in the car park of the Coles, formerly BiLo, supermarket in the early hours of August 23, 2014.

Mother of five Dawn Ballis and her 20-year-old daughter initially pleaded not guilty to charges of affray and common assault but after a video of the fighting - recorded by Ms Ballis on her daughter's phone - came to light before the hearing started at Grafton Local Court yesterday morning, both pleaded guilty to a set of facts.

A minor at the time of the offence was charged with affray and recklessly causing grevious bodily harm after a "king-hit" during the melee.

He pleaded guilty to the first offence, but fought the grevious bodily harm charge in a hearing at Grafton Local Court yesterday, on the grounds he was acting in self-defence.

It was alleged the victim of the punch, who has since undergone surgery to reconstruct his jaw, had gone to the aid of a 17-year-old girl who was pulled to the ground and had her hair pulled by Ms Ballis.

The court heard the brawl was initiated when the accused minor sent a Facebook message asking another minor to meet him at the car park for a fight, after the second allegedly confronted him at a party at Waterview Heights that night.

He arrived with four friends to find the minor had assembled a group of friends and family, including his sister and mother, and the two engaged in a "consensual" fight.

The court heard his 20-year-old woman then became involved with another girl at the scene, and his mother, who was filming the incident, put the phone in her pocket, before handing it to another person and going into the fight.

On the witness stand, Ms Ballis said she did so because she thought she saw another girl hitting her 20-year-old daughter.

"I was angry because of (the girl) trying to attack my daughter," she said.

"Have you ever seen a lion with her babies? I will always protect my children to the best of my ability because that is my job."

Through several witness accounts, it was heard that Ms Ballis then turned towards the victim and began to push and yell at him.

Soon after, the victim was hit by the minor with significant force, fracturing his lower right jaw.

Differing accounts of the victim's reaction were the basis of the minor's self-defence plea; the defence stated the victim had raised his fist towards Ms Ballis with an intention to hit her, and the accused minor responded accordingly.

The prosecution successfully negated the defence.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said the degree of force used in the punch was one of pro-activeness, rather than defence, and that it was clear he had organised the fight.

"It was anticipated violence," she said.

The minor was convicted and sentenced to 18 months' probation with supervision from juvenile justice.

Ms Ballis was convicted and sentenced to a good behaviour bond for nine months for charges of affray and two counts of common assault.

In sentencing, Ms Denes noted that the assaults and the incitement and encouragement of her children to behave in the manner they did amounted to a criminal offence. "You were the only adult, as far as I can tell, who was there," she said.

The 20-year-old woman was sentenced to a good behaviour bond for 18 months, with no conviction recorded.



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