Man punches pub patron on ground and assaults bartender
A MAN who knocked another pub patron to the ground and then continued punching him in a fight in a Bowen hotel has been placed on a four-month suspended prison sentence.
Marlon Roderick McDonald, 61, of Bowen, also grabbed a bar staff member by the throat when she tried to kick him out of the Queens Beach Hotel on June 7.
McDonald pleaded guilty in Bowen Magistrates Court on September 10 to assault occasioning bodily harm, common assault, committing a public nuisance and failing to leave licensed premises.
Prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court McDonald had punched the other patron in the face about 7.45pm, causing him to fall to the floor.
He then punched the man several more times while he was on the ground, Sgt Myors said.
When the female bar tender asked McDonald to leave, he "grabbed her by the throat and pushed her back", Sgt Myors said.
A number of people in the hotel then held him back from the staff member but he continued to yell and punch out, before picking up a ball off the pool table and holding it to another patron's neck, Sgt Myors said.
The court was told other patrons again restrained him, before he was eventually driven away by someone.
Sgt Myors said the behaviour continued for seven minutes before patrons could get McDonald out of the pub.
Sgt Myors said the patron who was punched by McDonald spent four days in hospital and suffered lacerations to his face and a fracture.
"This is nothing short of a protracted example of alcohol-fuelled violence," Sgt Myors said.
She also told the court she was concerned that the McDonald's acts continued to a staff member and patrons.
"No one deserves to be assaulted when they are working," she said.
"And the violence continued, especially after the defendant picked up a pool ball and threatened another patron."
Sgt Myors asked for $2080.57 in restitution for the man who was punched and $500 for the bartender.
McDonald's barrister Rowan Pack said McDonald and his late wife used to celebrate significant events together when she was alive, and those dates triggered depression in him now.
Mr Pack told the court the night of the assault was the anniversary of McDonald meeting his wife, and he was intoxicated that night and "had no recollection of the incident whatsoever".
He said McDonald was "minding his own business" at the bar when the man walked past him and CCTV footage he had seen showed them both appearing to say something and then the pair got "chest to chest".
Mr Pack said the CCTV showed the other man appeared to throw three punches that did not connect, before McDonald punched him.
"At the time they did fall to the ground, they were still exchanging blows," Mr Pack said.
"It's not an assault where there has been a king hit. There was some lead-up."
The court also heard he was willing to pay compensation.
Mr Pack also told the court McDonald had earlier played a game of pool with the man he assaulted.
In sentencing McDonald, Magistrate James Morton said McDonald had "over-reacted" on the night.
"What I'm dealing with is a man who persisted with an assault on a man who had been felled," he said.
"I must send a clear message to the community that this type of activity is not acceptable.
"Had the defendant reacted to the initial stand-off, he may have had a legal justification.
"Not only has he reacted to the victim, but also people in the licensed premises."
McDonald was sentenced to four months in prison, wholly suspended for a year for the assault on the man.
He was also sentenced to 80 hours of community service for the assault on the bar tender and the public nuisance charge.
He was convicted but not further punished for failing to leave the premises when asked.
He was also ordered to pay $2000 to the man he punched and $500 to the bartender.