A BENDIGO man has avoided conviction for punching a man to the head three times in an alleyway near the Music Man nightclub in central Bendigo.
The man was part of a group which hurled homophobic insults towards two men before the assault, a court has heard.
The man in his early 20s pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Monday to an assault charge.
The incident occurred late at night in February 2016 – more than 19 months before the matter was resolved in court.
The court heard the accused and a friend were urinating in an alleyway near the Music Man when they saw the victim with another man.
The accused’s friend hurled homophobic slurs towards the two men, before the victim’s friend was punched to the head and repeatedly punched while on the ground.
The accused then punched the other man to the head three times, causing him to fall to the ground. More men joined the attack on the other man.
The group then left for another nightclub until 2am.
The victim was taken to Bendigo Health with concussion, and both men were discharged the following morning.
The victim did not make a statement to police until May, and the accused was charged in November. He refused to reveal to police the identities of the other men involved in the attack.
In his interview with police, the accused said the victim was “lipping off” and was holding a glass. The accused said he wanted to “teach him a lesson”.
Defence counsel Luke Docherty said the accused is “a respected young man in the local community” and has not offended in the 19 months since.
“He was concerned that [the victim] had a glass in his hand, and he may have been glassed,” Mr Docherty said.
“In terms of the injury, it’s at the lower end.”
Police recommended the accused be placed on a diversion program.
But Magistrate Timothy Bourke said that would not be appropriate.
He said the community trusted the courts to try to stamp out alcohol and drug-related violence.
“Part of his problem is the prevalence of this type of alcohol fueled violence involving bars and clubs,” Mr Bourke said.
“This is the type of behaviour that country towns like Bendigo just don’t tolerate.”
The man was placed on an adjourned undertaking for 12 months without conviction, and must donate $750 to the court fund.