Javen O'Neill will be sentenced over the manslaughter of Byron Bay DJ Christopher Bradley.
Javen O'Neill will be sentenced over the manslaughter of Byron Bay DJ Christopher Bradley. Facebook

'I'm so sorry': Killer breaks down in court

 A COURT has heard of the heartache felt by sisters of a Byron DJ who was fatally assaulted on Christmas night in 2017.

Javen O'Neill, 25, is today facing a sentencing hearing over the death of Christopher Bradley.

Mr Bradley's sister, Bethany, has told Lismore District Court it was "impossible" to put into words the impact of the incident.

"Christmas is a time of celebration," Ms Bradley told the court.

"This was my favourite day of the year and his had now been ruined forever by an unprovoked violent assault.

"A part of me is missing. A part of all of us is missing."

A police officer read a statement from Chris' other sister, Madeleine Bradley, which said his death had "left a hole" in her life.

"No one should have to feel the grief of a loved one being taken by someone else's unjustifiable actions," she said.

"I'll never get to watch him have a family. It's taken the future we all through we'd have with him.

"It's broken all of our hearts."

O'Neill broke down when he took to the witness stand and was asked by barrister Phil Boulton SC how he felt about the incident.

"I think about it every day," he said.

"I'm so sorry for everything I caused and I know sorry's not going to change a thing but truly, I'm sorry."

Mr Boulton asked O'Neill what conclusion he had made in relation to his alcohol and drug use."It ruined lives," O'Neill said.

"A family's grieving the loss of a son due to my actions that night."

He told the court he'd resolved to never drink or take drugs again.

When asked by Mr Boulton if he was "prepared to be guided through that process" after release from prison, he said he was.

The court heard O'Neill had not had access to rehab while on remand but would accept such help upon being sentenced.

In cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell asked O'Neill if he agreed there was "no provocation" to the attack.

O'Neill said they had a "heated argument" and he saw Mr Bradley clench his fists.

But he conceded there was "no justification" for his reaction.

Mr Campbell asked O'Neill whether he said certain things to improve his prospects at sentencing.

O'Neill replied: "no way. It's the worst thing that's happened in my life".

Mr Campbell questioned him about previous martial arts training, and Mr O'Neill said he had taken a few boxing "fitness classes" with his girlfriend.

"I've never trained to fight," he said.

When asked whether he understood the dangers of punching someone to the head, Mr O'Neill said he "never expected" his actions would result in a life lost.

"I never ever would think it would cause someone to pass away," he said.

O'Neill's father, Anthony, told the court his son was "devastated" after the incident".

"Just the guilt of knowing that he's ended someone else's life… there's no winners in this," he said.

He told the court he believed his son would be capable of resisting alcohol and illicit drugs in the future and believed there was "absolutely no way" his son posed a risk of re-offending.

 

Original story: THE Byron Bay man who killed a local DJ at a party in 2017 is facing a sentencing hearing in Lismore.

Javen O'Neill was originally charged with murder over the Christmas night incident, but this was withdrawn and he lodged a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter late last year.

The 25-year-old has been held on remand - mostly at Kempsey Correctional Centre - but today appeared in person before Lismore District Court.

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell tendered to the court a set of agreed facts about the incident.

The court heard O'Neill punched Christopher Bradley to the head three times, causing his death.

Mr Bradley's father, Scott Bradley, told the court Chris was their first child and only son.

"He was a fun, happy person growing up," Mr Bradley said.

He told the court his son had studied sound production at SAE in Byron Bay and was a "popular" DJ in the local area.

While Chris lived some 800km from his family, they had regular contact, Mr Bradley said.

He recalled often catching up with his son on the phone as he drove home from work.

"We can't do that anymore and I'm reminded every day on my drive home," he said.

He said Christmas, which should be a "joyful gathering" would "never be the same" for the Bradley family and spoke of the "intense grief" of Chris' mother.

"She has cried every day since the received that phone call by police on Boxing Day," he said.

"We miss him every day".

More to come.


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