13 December 2021

Driver 'snapped' and bashed passenger, leaving behind clumps of hair on the road

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Dane Scott Toohey has been sentenced for an assault in which he attacked a passenger who had been in his car. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Annoyed at the behaviour of a passenger in his car, an acquaintance he was giving a lift to, the driver gave the man a “fairly significant beating” in the centre of Canberra, after which clumps of the victim’s hair were found scattered on the road.

Dane Scott Toohey, 39, spent 47 days in custody until he was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (10 December). He pleaded guilty to the assault.

Magistrate Glenn Theakston said the episode started when Toohey became irritated with a passenger in his car.

Court documents say they had been driving through Canberra city early in the morning of 23 February 2020.

The man had been sitting behind Toohey, shaking his seat, making provocative comments and, at one point, he put his hands over Toohey’s eyes as he drove.

Toohey heard his victim make one more comment then he “snapped”, Magistrate Theakston said.

He slapped, punched and wrestled with his victim, who was left with bruises on his eye and arm, and a large chunk of hair was pulled from his scalp.

When police arrived they found the victim sitting on the kerb with his head in his hands, and what they said were “clumps of hair on the road”.

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The DPP prosecutor said Toohey admitted he was the aggressor when he stopped his car and he had also admitted “he could have dealt with this better”.

She said the victim spoke about the embarrassment caused by facing his children with the injuries he was given.

Magistrate Theakston accepted there was a degree of provocation involved in the assault, which did reduce his moral culpability, but said it was “still a fairly significant beating that he applied to the victim”.

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Toohey, from Pearce, was sentenced to one month’s jail, backdated to account for time served and was told he would be free to leave custody shortly.

“Thank you very much. Thank you, your honour, and thank you to my solicitor as well,” Toohey said before he was disconnected from the audio-visual link.

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