A MARTIAL arts fly-kick that sent a victim soaring through the air and thudding to the pavement at Pall Mall was shown on CCTV footage played at the Bendigo Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The video recording showed two men being set upon by a group of eight youths in the early hours of the morning of April 4, 2021.
Five young men shown in the video were identified and subsequently charged with assault. Three others shown in the footage have not been identified.
The five men appeared in court and were assisted by an interpreter and entered pleas of guilty.
One man, who the court was told had come forward to try to make peace with the youths, was punched so hard in the face that he fell back and hit his head on a parked car and slumped to the ground unconscious and fell into the road.
The footage showed both victims being repeatedly kicked while they were on the ground, even while one was still unconscious.
Police prosecutor senior constable Matthew Hendry told the court that it was "very, very lucky" the two victims did not sustain long-term life changing injuries from the attack.
The court was told the defendants, two of them brothers, were all Burmese refugees who had migrated with their families from Thai refugee camps and had moved to Greater Bendigo to be part of the Karen community.
They were: Iay Naing Soe of Bendigo, Win Boe of Long Gully, Hsa Klo Moo of Golden Square, Ler Shee Sayhei of Epsom, and Poe Sayhei also of Epsom. At the time of the offence they were all aged between 18 and 22.
The group had gone to Rosalind Park that evening to intentionally join in a brawl with a group of 20 to 30 people.
The men had earlier received a phone call while they were drinking at a White Hills house party and chose to travel to the CBD to join the fight.
The two victims were Caucasian men who had been waiting for an Uber in the area and were warned to "run" because a brawling mob was coming in their direction.
Mr Hendry told the court the victims ran and crossed the road and came to a stop outside the Grill'd burger restaurant, believing that - as they had nothing to do with the fight - they didn't need to keep running.
The CCTV footage from that side of the road shows them being set upon shortly afterwards, as other people walking along the street cleared out of the way.
A victim impact statement from one of the victims said he had become wary of the Karen community since he was attacked.
"This offending has caused changes to my life over the past year. Being knocked unconscious caused me to have concussion," he said.
"I experienced headaches for days afterwards and the incident left me more vulnerable to future knocks for several months."
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"The recovery from concussion was complicated and made me worried about my ability to play sport or go about my normal life. I have increased anxiety when I'm out in town. Whenever I'm in large groups I'm always looking over my shoulder and I avoid going near parks or dark areas.
"Unfortunately, now when I see people of the same ethnicity I keep my guard up. Next time when someone is getting harassed I will think before helping them."
Magistrate Trieu Huynh said the need for general deterrence "loomed large" in his deciding how to sentence the men.
"It was in a public setting, late at night / early in the morning, involving young men in a group setting who had all been drinking alcohol, violence - a situation that occurs all too often in our community and in this area," he said.
"Having looked at the video I was shocked and taken aback ... (one of the victims) had his hands up and was punched."
Magistrate Huynh said the sentencing process needed to send a signal to the community that would deter others from committing similar offences.
Magistrate Huynh said he would take into account the mean were young and none of them had prior criminal records. He adjourned the case for sentencing on May 24.
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