A man who cut off a stranger's thumb with a machete-like weapon will spend at least four years in prison.
Samuel Leighton was sentenced in the County Court yesterday after pleading guilty to recklessly causing serious injury.
The 26-year-old was at his mother's house in the early morning of September 23, 2018 when there was a commotion outside and people began doing burnouts in vehicles in the driveway.
Leighton, believing this was an attempt to intimidate him over drug debts he owed, armed himself with a bladed weapon and tried to pursue these vehicles with a friend.
They could not find the vehicles they were looking for, but came across the victim - who was out for a walk to clear his head - in Strathfieldsaye.
Leighton got out of the vehicle and confronted the man, wrongly believing he was a "lookout" for the people who had been outside his mother's house.
Leighton then took the weapon and swung it at the victim.
The victim raised his hands to protect his face and the weapon sliced through his left thumb, severing it to the wrist.
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He was also suffered deep lacerations to his right arm and left leg.
Leighton and his friend fled the scene, Judge Paul Lacava said,"leaving the victim on the side of the road, bleeding heavily and gravely injured, to fend for himself".
Another passer-by stopped and helped the victim, who was airlifted to The Alfred for treatment, including surgery to reattach his thumb.
However, he will never regain its full use.
"After you had committed the crime, on a number of occasions in the days that followed, you showed callous disregard for the victim and what you had done," Judge Lacava said to Leighton.
Immediately afterwards Leighton told his friend he had "got him", responded with a 'thumbs up' emoji when a friend sent him a screenshot of a news report of his crime, and bragged about how tough he was.
"At that time you certainly had no remorse whatsoever for what you had done. You showed no concern for the victim, who was then lying in a hospital bed in Melbourne," Judge Lacava said.
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The judge said it was very serious offending.
"You assaulted an innocent person, a stranger to you, without provocation or reason, in a public place using a bladed weapon," he said.
"You caused a very serious injury which could have been life-threatening, and which will have long-lasting consequences physically and psychologically for the victim."
Judge Lacava noted Leighton was affected by ice and had been using the drug heavily, as well as heroin, around the time. He said this helped explain the crime, but did not excuse it.
While Leighton had expressed remorse to a psychologist and in a handwritten note to the victim, Judge Lacava believed this was limited and arose from the predicament he now found himself in.
A letter to the court written by a family friend pointed to the death of Leighton's father, Labor politician Michael Leighton, as a catalyst for his heavy drug use.
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Judge Lacava found Leighton had a good upbringing, despite struggles with school, but his drug use had ruined his life.
However, he said Leighton could still contribute to society if he remained sober, although believed his prospects of rehabilitation were "guarded".
Judge Lacava accepted Leighton had limited prior convictions for violence, good family support, a reasonably good employment history, and had undertaken courses in custody. He also pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Judge Lacava sentenced Leighton to six years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years. He had already served 451 days of his sentence.
Had he not pleaded guilty and been found so, he would have faced up to eight years in jail.
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