Man avoids going to jail over ‘vicious’ attack on housemate
A TRAFFIC controller bashed a former housemate with a metal pole and stomped on his head during a "vicious" attack on the day the pair was evicted from the Glenella home they rented.
Although the 22 year old on Thursday received a sentence of imprisonment over the 2019 assault, he avoided actual time behind bars.
Less than a month after the July 25 beating, his victim - Hayden Russell - had to have metal screws and plates inserted into his face.
Mackay District Court heard the pair were being evicted from the home they shared and as the victim was signing the paperwork, he accused Matthew Robert Conelius of rape.
Conelius has not been charged with any such offence.
Then 21, he told Mr Russell to shut up and when he did not, Conelius picked up a 30cm long metal bar, grabbed the victim by the hair and hit him three to four times with the weapon.
Crown legal officer Ryan Godfrey said Conelius then put Mr Russell in a headlock and punched him twice in the face, then kneed the victim in the face.
"Before finally, with the (victim's) body on the ground, stomped on (his) head," Mr Godfrey said.
The court heard the attack lasted about one minute and caused facial fractures and a 2cm gash to Mr Russell's scalp that doctors had to staple.
Mr Russell said without the surgery on August 16, Mr Russell would have suffered permanent facial asymmetry.
Conelius pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm while armed, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.
Mr Godfrey pushed for actual custody arguing the "sustained nature" of the assault was "truly troubling" and firmly warranted jail time.
However, defence barrister Matt Heelan said his client could be jailed with an immediate release due to his youth, zero criminal history, level of provocation, lack of premeditation to the offending, later co-operation with police and early plea of guilty.
The court heard he had engaged in counselling with Centacare on and off for the past 11 months.
"He said that he's gained some tools from the counselling services about how to control this sort of dangerous anger," Mr Heelan said.
"It was a vicious over-reaction to an emotional situation."
The court heard the victim had yelled the rape allegations when tensions were already high between the housemates about rent not being paid.
The court heard Conelius offered to pay $5000 compensation.
Judge Julie Dick said while "you can't buy your way out of prison", a genuine offer of compensation was viewed as a sign of remorse.
Judge Dick agreed Conelius had shown perception and was trying to rehabilitate.
"It's not pretty listening … it just was really vicious and I think does call for a prison sentence of two years even though you're only 21," she said.
He was released on immediate parole and must pay $5000 compensation within six months.