Fight over seat in council gallery ends in court

AN ARGUMENT over seating arrangements in the council gallery resulted in a charge of assault for one journalist.

Dafyd Kerri Martindale, 61, from news website South Burnett Online pleaded guilty to one charge of common assault in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on Monday.

The charge stemmed from an incident at a South Burnett Regional Council meeting on January 21.

The meeting was for the formal vote on the council takeover of the South Burnett Private Hospital, one of the most important votes of this council.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Wayne Bushell said Martindale got involved in an argument with Grant Newson over seating arrangements in the gallery.

This culminated in Martindale grabbing Grant Newson by the chest after an extended argument.

"He said he knew he shouldn't have but he let his emotions get the better of him," Sgt Bushell said.

Martindale said he lost his temper because Newson was sitting in the seat reserved for the media.

"This has come up after two years of non-stop provocation from Mr Newson," Martindale said.

"I was attending an important meeting to do my job, and when I asked him to move he refused."

He said the incident came about after two years of provocation from Mr Newson, in relation to his role in the media.

"It's out of character and I do apologise for wasting the court's time," he said.

Magistrate Barry Barrett took on board the history between the two but said it fell "short of a defence".

Martindale was placed on a $300 good behaviour bond for four months and no conviction was recorded.

South Burnett

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