A Forbes man has been given a non-custodial sentence over two assaults in a Wagga pub last year after his solicitor argued there was evidence of provocation.
Isaac Peter Bernardi, age 28, pleaded guilty in Wagga Local Court on Tuesday to one charge of common assault and one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Magistrate Christopher Halburd questioned if the facts of the case would allow the defence’s request for a good behavior bond.
Bernardi’s solicitor, John Weir, argued there were extenuating circumstances to qualify for a lesser sentence.
Mr Halburd convicted Bernardi of the charges and sentenced him to a 12-month good behaviour bond and 300 hours of community service.
The offences were committed against two men that Bernardi and his brother and friends encountered at the Victoria Hotel in Baylis Street, Wagga.
According to a statement of facts presented to the court, Mr Bernardi attended a ‘work function’ at the hotel on the night of November 18, 2017.
At some point in the evening, Bernardi left the hotel and returned at 9.20pm, with the venue requiring that his ID be scanned before entry.
At 2.10am, Bernardi’s brother was dancing and ended up close to a man The Daily Advertiser will refer to as ‘Victim A’, who pushed his shoulder.
Another man approached to intervene, who will be referred to as ‘Victim B’, but lost his balance and grabbed Bernardi’s shirt, at which point Bernardi punched Victim B with his left fist twice in the head.
Victim B fell down and was left unconscious for a short time.
Bernardi was held up by the hotel’s security at about 2.35am when he was approached by Victim A, who shouted that Bernardi was the person who assaulted Victim B.
Bernardi punched Victim A in the face with a left fist and then punched him again in the head while he lay on the ground.
Victim A required 18-20 stitches in his mouth while victim B suffered bruising to his upper lip and a concussion.
Bernardi attended Forbes Police Station on June 26th and was arrested, interviewed and had a DNA sample taken.
Mr Weir told the court on Tuesday that there was “evidence of provocation” and his client’s behaviour was “out of character” and related to alcohol consumption.
Mr Weir said Bernardi’s victims were heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident and he feared for the safety of the group.
“(Victim B) was so affected by alcohol when he approached my client’s brother that he could not maintain balance,” Mr Weir said.
“There was the impression that they would be subject to unlawful assault.
“The incidents were not premeditated. He did not recklessly inflict injury.”
Mr Weir said Bernardi accepted that he had caused the bodily injury to Victim A but he was unsure if it was caused by the first or second blow.
“A group of people approached while they were speaking to the bouncer,” Mr Weir said.
“Again, there was the impression that he or his friends would be subject to unlawful assault.”
Weir said Bernardi was the third generation of a successful family business that was started in Forbes and he had been subject to a stern talking to by his father.
“He’s rather ashamed,” Mr Weir said.
Mr Halburd ordered that correctional services in Forbes be contacted over the possibility that Bernardi could perform community service in that area.
“I’m sure there’s some work to be done in Forbes,” he said.
Mr Halburd was later informed by court staff that this would be possible.
Bernardi was on bail while the case was heard.