Pensioner not "jail material" despite assaulting women
HOW did an age pensioner, with no criminal record, wind up in court for assaulting two women?
That must have been the question 68-year-old Stanley Rex Johnson was asking himself as he stood in the dock charged with two serious offences of violence.
Johnson pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning bodily harm.
Before the sentencing began, he took a moment to address the court.
"I am very sorry for what happened," he said. "It was out of character for me because I have never ever touched a woman before.
"There were a lot of circumstances behind what happened, I was provoked at the time, but I should have handled it in a different manner."
Crown prosecutor Matt Le Grand said Johnson had assaulted his 54-year-old neighbour and her 27-year-old friend.
The offence took place within the neighbour's Redbank Plains home, on the afternoon of November 18, 2014.
Mr Le Grand said Johnson had visited the neighbour to settle a grievance he had with her. The two had known each other for 14 years, but in the months leading up to the offence, Johnson had become annoyed with the neighbour, claiming that she was pestering him and his family.
When Johnson told the woman to stay away she, according to him, laughed in his face.
It was in that moment, Johnson - as his barrister David Edwards described it - "lost his cool".
He pushed his neighbour, which caused her to fall backwards and break her wrist.
The woman's friend got up close to Johnson and began yelling at him, which provoked him into slapping her in the face three times.
Mr Le Grand said the neighbour had to have three operations on her wrist as a result of the injury, while the friend suffered bruising.
In spite of the assaults, Mr Edwards said his client was not "jail material".
"My client has led a blameless life, up till now," he said. "His actions were in the heat of the moment in circumstances which were quite extraordinary.
"It's certainly not a case where the public needs to be protected from him."
Judge Sarah Bradley said general deterrence was a factor in sentencing.
Judge Bradley said although there might have been some provocation leading up to the assaults, it didn't justify Johnson's violent reaction.
"I hope you've learned your lesson that no matter how angry you get, you can never respond with violence," she told him.
For both charges, Johnson was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years.