Coward punch was ‘disgraceful’

A GUNNEDAH man has been jailed after a single coward punch on an unsuspecting patron inside a Tamworth pub.

Magistrate Roger Clisdell said “the community is rightly outraged” at unprovoked assaults and consequently there was no other penalty other than a prison term for Gregory David Welsh.

The 32-year-old, who was supported in Tamworth Local Court yesterday for sentencing, left a stranger bloodied and bruised after attacking him inside the Albert Hotel about 11.30pm on February 22.

“Your behaviour on the night was disgraceful,” Mr Clisdell told the court.

“An innocent person was punched.

“The punch thrown without warning.”

The victim was leaning against the wall, using his phone when he told police he heard someone call out “hey mate” before seeing Welsh standing near him.

According to court documents, “the accused had his fist raised and with the clenched fist he punched the complainant in the face.”

The force of the blow caused the victim’s nose to bleed and his drink and phone also fell to the ground and smashed.

He was later treated by ambulance paramedics.

Security staff told police they saw the accused “chasing after the complainant and restrained” him before calling police and he was arrested.

“The victim was just standing there looking at his mobile phone, drinking a soft drink,” Mr Clisdell told the court.

“This bloke just walks up to him and gives him a king hit.

“We can’t have people assaulting people on nights out.”

Welsh’s solicitor, Wendy McAuliffe, initially asked for a good behaviour bond and said after reviewing CCTV footage of the attack, her client had pleaded guilty. 

“He’s not making any excuses for his behaviour which was appalling,” she said of the “serious, unprovoked assault.”

When Mr Clisdell said jail was the only option, Ms McAuliffe argued a suspended sentence was still a form of imprisonment and would cater for general deterrence.

Ms McAuliffe added her client had a “binge-drinking problem” and “has real remorse”, taking a number of steps to rehabilitate himself since the attack.

“He hasn’t had any alcohol since the incident,” she said.

Mr Clisdell said Welsh was the one to pour the alcohol down his throat and consequently he had to take responsibility for his actions.

“Violence at licenced premises and violence outside ... is becoming endemic in the community,” he said.

“The fact is you had too much to drink.”

Welsh was jailed for 12 months with a non-parole term of four months, meaning he will be eligible for release in January.

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