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Two avoid jail over assault outside Grafton Hotel

NSW police at Coffs Harbour boat ramp. Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate
NSW police at Coffs Harbour boat ramp. Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate Trevor Veale

TWO men have avoided jail over an alcohol-fuelled assault outside a Grafton Hotel, which left one man with a fractured eye socket.

Jay Gardiner and Joshua McKenny, both 22, appeared in Grafton Local Court yesterday on pleas of guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, in company.

According to police facts, the incident on June 13, 2015, began when Gardiner and McKenny left the Clocktower Hotel just after midnight.

The victim was standing across the road with a friend at the time, and was approached by Gardiner who said words to the effect of "are you gonna knock me out?"

The victim walked away, but outside the Grafton Library he was again confronted by Gardiner, who pushed the victim in the chest. In response, the victim punched Gardiner.

McKenny then punched the victim, who was knocked to the ground when Gardiner continued to punch him. Gardiner also punched the victim's friend.

It was later found in hospital that the victim had suffered a broken eye socket, which required surgery to fit a metal plate to the affected area.

In court yesterday, police prosecutor Sgt Wiles described it as a "textbook case" of an alcohol-fuelled assault outside a licensed premises in the early hours of the morning, and argued that the pair should be sentenced in some way.

Magistrate Denes agreed, but added that the pair were a great example of how difficult sentencing for these sorts of offences could be.

Neither Gardiner or McKenny had been in trouble with the law before or since the incident, both had good jobs, character references and recognised their wrongdoing and expressed remorse for their actions.

The magistrate also took into account their young age at the time of the incident.

Gardiner and McKenny were both handed a suspended sentence of nine months. For an added charge of common assault, Gardiner was placed on a 12- month good behaviour bond.


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