‘Small Aussie white guy’ loses assault appeal

“I felt threatened – he was a lot bigger than me. I’m a small Aussie white guy.
“I felt threatened – he was a lot bigger than me. I’m a small Aussie white guy."

A NIGHTCLUB thug who punched and kicked a stranger until he passed out has lost his bid to overturn a conviction stemming from the vicious assault.

Samuel Eathen Sawyers asked the Queensland Court of Appeal to remove the Rockhampton District Court-imposed grievous bodily harm conviction delivered in February.

The 25-year-old claimed he received an "unfair" trial because his defence lawyer was "incompetent".

He was sentenced to three years jail after a jury found him guilty, but he will be eligible for parole in August.

A judgment handed down on Friday detailed how Sawyers was dancing with his girlfriend at a nightclub when the victim tried to touch the woman.

Sawyers told police he hit and kicked the victim in self-defence because the other man pulled him so hard that he "nearly hit the floor".

"I punched him, he fell, then I kicked him," he told police shortly after the assault.

"I felt threatened - he was a lot bigger than me.

"I'm a small Aussie white guy.

"He swung at me, he missed, I swung at him, I punched him in the chin, he fell over, he started mouthing off.

"I didn't mean to, but I kicked him."

Sawyers' appeal court argument included that his defence lawyer failed to capitalise on his self-defence claim.

"The appellant's argument on appeal started with the proposition that … the prosecution was not able to exclude self-defence beyond reasonable doubt," Justice Jean Dalton wrote in the appeal findings.

"That was not the case.

"It was for the jury to decide whether or not the Crown had excluded self-defence."

Justice Dalton said some aspects of Sawyers' defence appeared to "demonstrate inexperience" but the problems were not so bad as to sway the jury into delivering a guilty verdict.


Topics:  assault court crime rockhampton

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