Jail term for cowardly act

A STANTHORPE man was yesterday sentenced to 12 months jail with immediate parole after pleading guilty to what was described as a cowardly act.

Steven Mark Elson, 33, punched Craig Allan Kelly in the back of the head as he walked away from a Warwick hotel.

The court heard Elson's co-accused, Xlyon Ray Smith, 19, also pleaded guilty to the same charge - assault occasioning bodily harm - after he got into a wrestling match with the victim, resulting in Mr Kelly being lifted and hitting his head on concrete.

Smith did not have a conviction recorded for his part in the scuffle but was given two years probation.

The court heard the three men, along with two others, left the hotel about 1am on March 12 last year and were walking towards a park.

CCTV caught an earlier conversation between the victim and Smith but did not show the fight. Smith said he was on his way to the park to have a fight and resolve an issue with the victim.

Judge Marshall Irwin accepted Smith's claims he got involved in an act of self defence when he saw Mr Kelly coming towards him, after he was hit by Elson and propelled forward.

"(Elson) commenced the conduct which caused us to be in this court today," Judge Irwin said.

He said he considered Elson's previous history, which included a glassing incident for which he was convicted 10 years ago, when handing down the sentence.


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