The offender and victim had been drinking prior to the altercation taking place, the court heard. Picture: Brendan Francis
The offender and victim had been drinking prior to the altercation taking place, the court heard. Picture: Brendan Francis

Drunken brawl ends in conviction at Coffs courthouse

A VIOLENT and drunken brawl between two Irish men has resulted in a conviction at Coffs Harbour courthouse.

James Anthony Walsh appeared in the Local Court on Monday where he was sentenced on a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Walsh, who had recently moved to Coffs Harbour from Ireland, had pleaded guilty to the offence which took place in the central west region in April while he was temporarily working on the inland rail project.

The court heard Walsh and his two housemates were in their backyard consuming alcohol when Walsh and the victim got into a heated verbal argument about a business venture proposal.

This resulted in the victim telling Walsh to pack his gear and "f*ck off."

A witness reported hearing Walsh say "I just want to drive his head into the concrete," before a physical altercation took place.

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The witness said they then heard a thud and saw Walsh laying on the victim, with the victim in a headlock after having hit his head and eye area on the hard concrete.

The witness said the victim's eye had visibly swelled and blistered.

The court heard Walsh told police he was acting in self-defence and had been provoked, saying he had given the victim a "good crack" after being hit behind the ear.

Magistrate Ian Rodgers said he accepted there was potentially an issue of provocation, however he said Walsh's actions were excessive.

He also took into account that Walsh's behaviour was out of character, according to a number of testimonies.

The victim in the offence never made a statement.

"I have to take into account the injury which is the highest level of injury for actual bodily harm," Magistrate Rodgers said.

Walsh was convicted and fined $800.

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