Man jailed after ‘callous’ hammer fight

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Stirling Terrace at night.
Camera IconStirling Terrace at night. Credit: Albany Advertiser

An Albany teenager who struck a man in the head with a hammer before kicking him in the head as he sat defenceless on a seat near Albany nightclub Studio 146 has been jailed for 10 months.

Andy Rohan Bennell appeared in Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday after pleading guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm from the attack, which left the victim with a broken jaw requiring surgery.

Bennell and the victim were known to each other and began what was described as a “mutual fight” in the Stirling Terrace carpark in the early hours of March 10. The court was told the verbal altercation became a physical one and Bennell used a hammer to strike the victim in the hip, forearm and head, which dazed him, in front of onlookers.

Prosecuting Sergeant Cameron Clifford said the two men had been separated and the concussed victim sat slumped on a nearby bench on Stirling Terrace.

It was then Bennell kicked him in the head, which was described by Sgt Clifford as “callous”. Defence lawyer Janie Gibbs said her client was intoxicated and acknowledged he should have walked away after he inflicted the blow to the head with the hammer, but was unaware the victim had been concussed.

She requested that Bennell be given a chance and not be sent directly to prison after his early guilty plea, show of remorse and limited adult criminal record.

Sgt Clifford called for an immediate prison term.

He said the attack occurred in front of onlookers and there needed to be a strong message sent that ongoing street violence would not be tolerated. Magistrate Robert Young said it was concerning Bennell had access to a weapon capable of inflicting serious harm during the fight, which went from a “fair to unfair fight”.

Mr Young said the fight being in an entertainment district and violence between intoxicated young men was a cause of strong community concern.

Bennell was jailed for 10 months and made eligible for parole after serving half his sentence.

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