A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a choking assault upon his mother’s partner. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard
A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a choking assault upon his mother’s partner. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

Why man choked mum’s boyfriend until he struggled to breathe

A man who choked his mother's boyfriend during a house-moving dispute took self-defence too far, a court has heard.

Jae Flevell, 30, had earlier pleaded guilty to intentionally choking a person without consent.

A second charge of common assault was formally withdrawn when he faced Byron Bay Local Court for sentencing on Monday.

Flevell was living with his mother in Ocean Shores when a dispute over house-moving responsibilities broke out on October 25.

They were due to move out the following day.

The court heard Flevell believed he had dealt with his responsibilities in relation to preparing for the move and felt things were going "smoothly".

But an argument unfolded between him and his mother's boyfriend, Craig Yeates, who was visiting at the time.

A scuffle took place and Flevell choked Yeates with such forced he went red and was struggling to breathe, according to an account the mother gave to police.

Solicitor Tom Ivey handed up a personal reference which he said corroborated information in a sentencing assessment report.

"I'm ultimately asking your honour to accept that there was an aspect of excessive self defence," Mr Ivey said.

Mr Ivey said police had implied in their account of the incident that "self defence existed for a moment" although it was "excessive in totality".

"Effectively it's a two-way fight where Mr Flevell gets the upper hand," Mr Ivey said.

The court heard Flevell was stuck in Vietnam for four months earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

It was while he was overseas his mother formed a relationship with the victim, who he "didn't know very well" at the time of the incident, Mr Ivey said.

He said his client accepted, in retrospect, he was "completely in the wrong".

Magistrate Karen Stafford said the choking appeared to have been "an escalation" of a "struggle" between the two men and accepted there was "an element of self defence"

"I do accept that you are genuinely sorry for what has happened, and were it not for the AVO you would make an apology," Ms Stafford said.

She sentenced Flevell to an 18 month community corrections order, 100 hours of community service work and fined him $500 for an AVO breach which was committed shortly after the order was imposed by police.