Mayors McVeigh and Antonio both provided character references for the man convicted on grievous bodily harm yesterday.
Mayors McVeigh and Antonio both provided character references for the man convicted on grievous bodily harm yesterday.

Antonio, McVeigh support one punch attacker in court

TWO Darling Downs mayors provided written references for a man convicted of punching a work colleague so hard he needed four metal plates and 16 screws surgically inserted into his jaw.

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio and Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh were two of a number of people who provided glowing references to the city's District Court on Tiki Edward Piho's behalf yesterday.

Those revelations came after details of the one-punch attack on a fellow worker were revealed.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio talks about the Toowoomba community raising money for Japanese sister city, Takatsuki, after recent natural disasters, Monday, July 30, 2018.
Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio was one of a number of people who provided Piho with a character reference. Kevin Farmer

The court heard Piho punched the victim in the face at an Oakey property in 2016 after an alcohol-fuelled altercation between the pair and another man, who also punched the victim.

The 24-year-old's blow broke the man's jaw and left him needing surgery to remove the impacted tooth and insert metal plates and screws.

The victim can no longer speak properly, the court heard.

Mayor Paul McVeigh
Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh also provided the man with a character reference. Michael Doyle

Crown prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said Piho told officers "to be honest I don't really care hey" when interviewed.

Piho was supported by a large number of family members in the public gallery yesterday, who wept and audibly sighed when Judge Nicole Kefford released him on immediate parole.

The court proceeding lasted almost three hours as Judge Kefford weighed the number of references, including one from his employer and the head of a sporting organisation in the region, against the severity of a grievous bodily harm charge.

"I have a difficult time considering sending you to prison," she said.


The Oakey Beef worker's barrister said Piho was a respected member of the community where he participated in various church activities including helping youths in the congregation.

Piho has also played representative rugby on the Darling Downs.

Judge Kefford sentenced him to two years jail, but ordered he be released on parole yesterday.