THE perpetrator of an unprovoked one-punch attack that left his victim with severe brain injuries has been sentenced to four years and six months' jail.
Wagga man Jerome Saffey, 23, appeared in Wagga District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of recklessly causing actual bodily harm.
The impact statement by the victim, whose family was in the public gallery, was tendered to the court but not read out.
"The devastating and life-changing nature of the impact of the harm, injuries and ongoing issues suffered by the victim are eloquently set out in the victim impact statement," Judge Gordon Lerve said.
"No member of the community deserves to be the victim of unprovoked violence, as was the case in this matter.
"There are real issues of general deterrence to be addressed in this matter."
No member of the community deserves to be the victim of unprovoked violence, as was the case in this matter.Judge Gordon Lerve
The court heard that since the attack, the victim has had "significant changes in his cognitive performance and in the cognitive domains of emotional ability", which has impacted his employment and created financial stress.
The victim has had unexplained emotional outbursts, has been verbally aggressive and has lost his sense of smell.
Police documents tendered to the court state that Saffey was drinking at the Ashmont Inn Hotel about 9pm on January 5, 2018 when a physical fight broke out between his group of friends and the victim's group of friends in the hotel car park.
The victim came out of the hotel to intervene, which was when Saffey punched him in the face, causing him to fall backwards and smash the back of his head on the ground.
He was left unconscious and motionless.
Witnesses later reported to police that the victim was not verbally or physically aggressive.
After a CT scan revealed a "significant brain trauma" involving six different head injuries, he was airlifted to St George Hospital in Sydney and closely monitored in the neurological ward for six days.
Doctors in Sydney later described his head injuries as "substantial and life threatening".
Saffey also sustained some injuries leaving him with swelling in the face.
In court on Thursday, Saffey spoke about his remorse, his upbringing and how the loss of his grandmother impacted his younger years.
"I really do apologise, I understand my actions are to be accounted for and I take responsibility," he said.
"I do apologise to the victim and [his] family."
His grandfather also gave evidence and tendered a reference letter.
Saffey will be eligible for parole in January 2022.
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