East Ballina man Michael Stevens attacked his flatmate with a pair of scissors.
East Ballina man Michael Stevens attacked his flatmate with a pair of scissors. Facebook

Fight over meat pie was 'self defence', attacker claims

A FIGHT over a meat pie which saw two housemates wrestle around their East Ballina home has landed one of them with two convictions.

Michael Paul Stevens faced Ballina Local Court on Friday for judgment on three charges against him.

The 38-year-old had pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of reckless wounding. Two further charges had previously been withdrawn.

A fight broke out between Stevens and his male housemate on the evening of November 5 last year.

In relation to the assault charge, the court heard Mr Stevens punched the other man in the mouth before gouging his eye, causing an injury.

"The defendant agrees that he punched him but (claims) he was acting in self-defence," Magistrate Karen Stafford said.

Ms Stafford found his claim of self-defence was reasonable in terms of the punch, but not the eye gouge.

"In my view (the prosecution) have eliminated... the reasonable possibility that it was a proportionate response to the threat that Mr Stevens perceived," she said.

She therefore found him guilty of this first charge.

In relation to one reckless wounding charge, she was not satisfied Stevens had no lawful excuse when he held scissors to the other man's chin, and he was found not guilty.

She found Stevens guilty of the second count of that charge, in which he held the other man to the ground and cut through his ear cartilage.

The defence claimed this wound came from a glass shard after the wrestling men fell on, and broke, a fish tank.

But she rejected this contention, citing the amount of blood around the scene and a doctor's evidence that a glass shard "probably would have (left) a jagged cut", although the victim's ear was cleanly cut.

She said Stevens, larger and stronger than his house mate, had the "physical advantage" in this situation.

The court heard the other man had placed his hands around Stevens' throat at one point during the struggle.

Stevens shook his head as the two guilty findings were handed down.

Ms Stafford ordered a sentencing assessment report and Stevens is expected to be sentenced on May 16.


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