‘My children are afraid’: Father’s plea over bashing
A FORMER Cairns pilot and dedicated father of three has made an impassioned plea for "justice" over the sentence handed down to a man who broke his jaw in three places and knocked him unconscious in a fast food restaurant.
David Batchelor, 39, has chosen to speak out and voice his disappointment over the penalty handed down to his attacker, a 26-year-old former junior AFL star, who will not serve a single day behind bars over the brutal August 2019 assault.
It is understood an appeal is being considered against the sentence. Mr Batchelor, who lived in Cairns for years, has been forced to move his young family to Melbourne to be closer to support and medical help, and is no longer allowed to fly, such is the severity of his injuries.
Wife Nicole was two months pregnant with their son and their daughters Anika and Chloe were just four and six when the attack occurred at McDonald's on the Cairns Esplanade.
"I physically felt ill when I was informed of the inadequate sentence and the judges comments despite the video evidence of (the) punch," he said. "How can it be that the pain, suffering and permanent injuries I have as a result of a punch do not equate to actual jail time in this judge's opinion?
"I want to see justice done for myself, family and friends who have had to witness what I have gone through during my recovery and rehabilitation.
"Punches kill and destroy lives, we must have sentencing consistent with both public expectations and proportionate to the injuries sustained and recovery time."
Mr Batchelor underwent multiple surgeries on his jaw with plates and screws inserted. He has no memory of the incident and was too traumatised by the image to share a picture of himself bruised and battered in hospital.
The offender, Luke Chitty, 26, received 2½ years jail with immediate parole at his August 12 sentencing.
Video footage of the brutal strike was played in court, seeing the pair involved in a brief altercation before Chitty struck Mr Batchelor with a single punch as the pair walked towards the door.
Upon handing down the sentence for grievous bodily harm, Judge Dean Morzone said there had been provocation and Chitty was suffering mental health issues.
Mr Batchelor submitted a victim impact statement to the court, highlighting the tragic impact of his injuries, which have cost him his job, a social life and caused a deep financial burden. "My children are afraid that they could get hurt by a baddie too," he wrote.
"My children and wife have had to witness my ongoing treatments for my fractured jaw and headaches and migraines and the pain it causes me.
"My wife has had to look after two children and infant mostly on her own and had limited support from me during her pregnancy due to my being assaulted when she was two months pregnant."
The Attorney-General is yet to decide whether she will recommend an appeal.
Originally published as 'My children are afraid': Father's plea for appeal over bashing