21 September 2021

'Crazed' boxer attacks father holding baby, 14-year-old boy and brother who came to help

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

Rory Adrian Booth, 21, pleaded guilty to a “bizarre” series of assaults. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A “crazed” boxer randomly attacked a father holding his one-year-old daughter, before launching himself at a 14-year-old boy riding past on a scooter and lunging at the boy’s brother as he came to help.

The ACT Magistrates Court heard the father was carrying his daughter while walking down the street with several others near Canberra Casino at about 11:00 pm on 25 May 2021 when he was approached by Rory Adrian Booth, who started screaming at them.

The father yelled at one of his friends to call police, then Booth punched him in the head as he held his child in his arms. He was bruised and moved away from his attacker.

But shortly afterwards, a family visiting relatives in Canberra rode their scooters along Allara Street towards the casino.

When the 14-year-old son was riding past Booth, Booth punched him in the head, knocking him off the scooter.

The boy’s older brother heard him yell out, so tried to ride back to help him. But Booth swung a punch at the brother as well, missing at first, but then hit him with a right hook to the head when the brother tried to put up his arms to protect himself.

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Booth chased the family to the casino where a member of the military police came to help them.

Police arrived to find him in an agitated state and he held up his hands like he was ready to fight.

“If someone comes at me I’m going to retaliate. I’ll retaliate against anyone,” he told them.

Booth worked as an apprentice, had a decade of boxing experience and has been involved with the Winnunga Boxing Gym where he voluntarily coached children.

His lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith of Kamy Saeedi Law said his client was embarrassed, remorseful and this behaviour was an “aberration”.

On Thursday (16 September), Special Magistrate Jane Campbell said the father would have been very vulnerable when he was punched by Booth as he was holding his daughter and would have been fearful about the vulnerability of the child.

It was Booth’s drug-taking that caused his “disconnect with reality”, she said. She noted while she accepted it was likely he didn’t expect to become a “crazed assailant” when taking the drugs, he did have to take responsibility for it.

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She said he admitted he had taken cocaine and a small amount of the drug was found on him.

The cocaine was found to have been cut with a drug that was publicly available and used as an anaesthetic, but a side effect of it was it could cause confusion when it interacted with other drugs.

Magistrate Campbell said she could not find that it was the interaction between cocaine and the anaesthetic that caused Booth’s “bizarre behaviour”, or whether it was the cocaine itself.

She did say the reason he punched the three unsuspecting people was “presumably” a reaction to the drugs he took.

But she also said when a person takes illegal drugs “there is always a risk there will be a cutting of another agent in it”.

Booth pleaded guilty to charges of assault and possessing cocaine. He was convicted and sentenced to concurrent 12-month good behaviour orders as well as fined $350.

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