A BROKEN guitar was a key piece of evidence in an assault case heard in the Coffs Harbour Local Court heard this week.
The guitar was found discarded in an Arrawarra caravan park by police investigating an alleged assault.
The officers were called to the park on the morning of October 5 last year by a man who claimed he had been assaulted by a fellow camper.
The victim told police he and his elderly father had got into an argument with the man accused of striking him, Jesse Stacey Finnane, 27, of Merewether.
Moments earlier Finnane had been carrying the guitar when he was attacked by a plover nesting near the campsites.
He admitted to police he had used the instrument to protect himself from the bird and after doing so was confronted about his behaviour by the victims.
It was said the argument, shortly after 1am, escalated into pushing and shoving and then a fight.
Police were told that the guitar was also used as a weapon in the fight.
Due to the state of intoxication of those involved, it was noted the accounts given to police varied greatly.
Finnane said he and his friends who witnessed the fight had started drinking at a local hotel at 3pm the previous day.
All that was known for sure was that Finnane and the victim were found to be suffering cuts and bruises to their faces when interviewed later that day.
Claims were also made that the victim’s father had armed himself with a knife.
The 67-year-old man admitted to police he had done so in fear of his safety.
“Okay, I did have a knife to scare them away because I thought they were going to keep hurting us,” the witness said when interviewed.
After investigations into the matter, Finnane was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and custody of an offensive implement in public – the guitar.
In hearing the case, Magistrate Pearce dismissed the offensive implement charge, instead finding Finnane guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The ship worker, who is based off Western Australia, was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and fined $500 plus court costs.