Josh James Macdonald pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court today.
Josh James Macdonald pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court today.

Father coward punches stranger in ‘random attack’

A FATHER who hit a stranger in a gratuitous, unprovoked act of violence has narrowly avoided jail time.

Joshua James Macdonald, 28 pleaded guilty to one charge of assault occasioning bodily harm in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court today.

Police prosecutor Stephen Potter said the offence, which occurred in October last year was gratuitous violence, with a blatant disregard for the wellbeing of the victim.

"It involved an unprovoked coward-style punch followed up with a direct strike to the victim's face," he said.

"The defendant had to be restrained by numerous members of the public."

The court heard the victim had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital, with MRI tests showing he had a fractured eye socket, as well as cuts to his lips, bruising and pain, and minor damage to the teeth.

"It was a random attack on a stranger without warning," Sgt Potter said.

Macdonald's lawyer Matthew Cooper told the court he was very remorseful for his actions, having sent an apology letter to the victim and something that was very out of character for the father-of-one.

"He has one child to a previous relationship, aged 11, and he has sole custody of that child," he said.

The court also heard Macdonald was trying to rehabilitate himself, by attending mental health care sessions.

"He's come a long way since the offence was committed and in my submission sending him to jail to serve an actual custodial sentence is not in his best interest," Mr Cooper said.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said he needed to send a message to the community that unprovoked acts of violence in or outside licensed venues will not be tolerated.

"This victim threw you an invitation to go to McDonald's. He was caring for a female who was overly intoxicated and making sure she was making the right decision about going home," he said.

"That was a concern he was addressing at the time, and unfathomably and I don't know why, but you king hit him.

"And you didn't stop there. He turned around and you delivered a second blow, which possibly was the one that caused most of the damage.

"He didn't deserve this."

Mr Stjernqvist sentenced Macdonald to 12 months' imprisonment, wholly suspended for two years with a conviction recorded.

He was also ordered to pay $2000 compensation to the victim.