Party punch leads to jail sentence

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Justin Victor Godden was jailed for 12 months.
Camera IconJustin Victor Godden was jailed for 12 months. Credit: iStockphoto

A magistrate has labelled one-punch attacks too prevalent when jailing a Denmark man for 12 months over an assault which left a partygoer with serious injuries after he fell from a balcony.

Justin Victor Godden was described as a danger to the community when drinking alcohol when he was sentenced in Albany Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.

The court previously heard Godden was celebrating his cousin’s 21st birthday at his uncle’s house late last year when he punched a man, who fell from the balcony and injured his hip and back.

Godden had claimed he had stepped in as he felt protective and was concerned for his uncle, who was speaking with the victim.

Prosecuting Sergeant Alan Dean said the punch warranted an immediate prison term.

Magistrate Raelene Johnston said Godden’s early guilty plea reflected he had accepted responsibility for the offence but the assault was too serious to warrant suspending any prison term.

She said being on bail for a similar offence in August should have prevented Godden from committing the party assault but he was “clearly intoxicated”.

“When you don’t drink you are a productive member of society,” she said.

“When you do drink, you have proved to be a danger.”

Ms Johnston said a strong message needed to be sent to the community that serious assaults would be dealt with accordingly.

“The punch was on a balcony… there is no justification for committing this offence, which resulted in a fairly significant injury,” she said.

“These one-punch type incidents are too prevalent in the community.”

Godden was made eligible for parole.

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