Man appeals sentence for fight with 'known shooter'
AT WHAT point does self-defence become excessive violence?
That was the question posed when Matthew Norris fronted district court to question the suspended sentence he received for an assault charge, a charge he said was the result of a man threatening to shoot him.
The man appealed Kingaroy Magistrate Louisa Pink's decision regarding the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm made in the Kingaroy District Court on August 29.
Norris was sentenced for a period of six months' imprisonment, which was wholly suspended for 18 months on December 17, 2018.
The court heard Norris had spoken with another man in the beer garden on January 8, 2018.
Defence lawyer Mr McGuinness said the men had fought and thrown punches, which could be seen on CCTV footage.
"There is clearly behaviour in several punches consistent with loss of control, and then there is behaviour consistent with passion cooling before another person arrives on the video,” Mr McGuinness said.
"It's clear he had the opportunity to slip in more punches if he wanted to.”
During the argument, the other man threatened to shoot Norris and Mr McGuinness said it was a "real threat”.
"The man is a known shooter whose put DVDs out on the subject,” he said.
Mr McGuinness said Norris asked "if the threat was serious” and was told the man's gun was in the car, just 10m away.
"When a person is defending himself, quick judgements may be essential for the benefit of safety,” Mr McGuinness said.
The court heard the man was knocked to the ground and covered his head while blows continued.
Prosecution lawyer Alex Stark said they accepted some level of force was necessary due to the threat presented.
"But the point remains, there was a lack of immediate threat,” he said.
Judge Glen Cash said the Kingaroy magistrate, Ms Pink stated she found the gun threat to not be enough to warrant the punches while he was still on the ground.
"On one hand he's thought justified for the amount of force to knock the complainant over to stop him from getting the gun and continuing to throw the punches,” Judge Cash said.
"It's not a reasonable response to continue punching after he's fallen to the ground.”
Judge Cash said at best Norris could have believed the man could have gone to retrieve the gun.
"There was much he could've done before resorting to violence with the publican nearby,” he said.
The court heard the publican had approached the pair and heard Norris say "don't f----- threaten to shoot me”.
Judge Cash said he was satisfied the force used was more than necessary.
The suspended sentence was set aside and Norris was fined $1000 for the assault.
All convictions were recorded.