A man has been sentenced for his involvement in a violent brawl outside a licensed premises at Park Beach.
A man has been sentenced for his involvement in a violent brawl outside a licensed premises at Park Beach.

Drunken Park Beach brawl ends in conviction

A MAN who took part in a drunken and violent brawl outside a licensed premises on the Coffs Coast has been sentenced.

William Aho Lehauli appeared before Magistrate Ian Rodgers in Coffs Harbour Local Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of affray in relation to the June 12 incident.

The court heard the incident unfolded after two individuals began fighting inside the Park Beach premises, before leaving for the car park where a further physical altercation took place.

As the altercation began to subside, Lehauli jumped in.

He approached a male and attempted to assault him, before another person grabbed him and held him in a headlock.

Lehauli then tried to throw punches at the person, before he was wrestled to the ground and the brawl subsided once again.

Magistrate Rodgers said Lehauli had no reason to enter into the fight.

“He entered the affray at a time where it was starting to clam down. It was of no business of his at all – and that aggravates the circumstances,” Magistrate Rodgers said.

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“The seriousness of these offences are that they are public violence and alcohol violence, and courts have to view this extremely seriously. There has to be a deterrent effect in relation to penalties.”

The defence argued that the incident was out of character for Lehauli, and that a community corrections order with supervision would be a fitting sentence to deter Lehauli’s alcohol use.

“Alcohol-fuelled violence is something that comes before the court all too often.

“It is my submission it is out of character … it appears that if Mr Lehauli isn’t drinking it’s unlikely that he will come back before the court.”

In handing down his sentence, Magistrate Rodgers took into account Lehauli’s previous conviction for a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He warned that the fresh offence was close to “crossing the threshold” into a jail term because of this.

However, the magistrate considered Lehauli’s positive character references and acknowledged the behaviour was out of character.

Lehauli was sentenced to an 18 month community corrections order, including 150 hours of community service.