Boat ramp bashing: Fisherman's serious attack on elderly man
AN infuriated father left an elderly man with a smashed-up face after his daughter was almost reversed into at a popular boat ramp.
Pieter Wouter Du Toit pleaded guilty in Gladstone District Court to one count of grievous bodily harm after he punched a 69-year-old in the face at the Toolooa bends ramp on January 28, 2017.
The court was told the victim, Bruce Archibald, and Du Toit were strangers before the offending but both used the boat ramp about 8.30am that morning.
Mr Archibald was reversing his boat onto the ramp at the same time as Du Toit.
The court was told Du Toit's eight-year-old daughter was directing her father as he reversed and was almost hit by Mr Archibald.
Du Toit got out of his car, picked up his daughter and put her in his car. He tried to move his car out of the victim's way when their boats clipped.
The 43-year-old went over to Mr Archibald's vehicle, opened the door and confronted him.
Mr Archibald got out of his car, assessed the damage and apologised but the court was told Du Toit accused him of drink driving, causing an argument.
With a closed fist Du Toit punched Mr Archibald to the left side of his face, fracturing his eye socket and jaw.
Mr Archibald dropped to the ground but when Du Toit called the police, the elderly man refused to stay at the scene and carried on collecting his crab pots.
Mr Archibald later went to the police station, unaware of how badly the punch had injured him and was encouraged by officers to go to hospital.
The elderly man needed plates and screws inserted in his face.
Since the assault he has only been fishing once.
The now 71-year-old was in court with his wife and a friend to see Du Toit sentenced.
Mr Archibald was swearing throughout the proceedings and told by the prosecutor several times to be quiet.
Defence barrister Tom Polley said his client had no criminal history and came to Australia from South Africa in 2011.
Mr Polley said his client was a working man, married with two children but had suffered a great loss earlier in life.
Du Toit and his wife had twins, born at 24 weeks gestation. "One of the twins died after six weeks," Mr Polley said.
Du Toit and his wife were both in tears at hearing the statement.
"In 2017 my client secured a new job but shortly after suffered a medical condition, a collapsed lung, and had no income up until July," Mr Polley said.
Mr Polley said although Du Toit was understandably stressed about his daughter being "nearly hit" by Mr Archibald, he said the assault was an "overreaction".
He told Judge Nathan Jarro the offending was "completely out of character" for Du Toit.
Judge Jarro noted the assault was in front of Du Toit's daughter and caused the victim to suffer serious injuries.
He sentenced to Du Toit to serve 18 months jail, wholly suspended.
A conviction was recorded.