14 April 2022

'Explosive' assault leaves tavern patron with lasting facial disfigurement

| Albert McKnight
Brett William Douch

Brett William Douch, 36, leaves court after being sentenced for an assault on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A magistrate, who heard how a patron was assaulted and left with a lasting scar after speaking up in defence of a woman at a tavern, told the court the community was “sick and tired” of hearing about drunken violence.

The victim wrote a statement that was read to the the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (13 April) when 36-year-old Brett William Douch was sentenced for a charge of assault.

The patron said the beating had impacted his ability to care for himself and his children, he was now afraid of public events and crowds, and he had trouble accepting his appearance due to the prominence of his facial scaring.

“My appearance and my ability to have a normal life will be impacted by this event forever,” he said.

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Douch had gone out to the now-closed Chisholm Tavern in south Canberra on 4 June 2021 where he drank excessively into the night.

When he went to leave with a female friend, a woman there yelled out to the friend that they shouldn’t go with him and “he’s going to take advantage of you”.

Douch told the woman to “f-k off and mind your own business” and the victim, sitting on a stool, interjected to say “you can’t speak to women like that”.

Douch ran at his victim, punched him in the face and knocked him off the stool, with him hitting a pool table on his way down, then mounted him and punched him two more times.

When police arrived they saw the victim had a deep laceration above his eye for which he needed three sutures.

Magistrate Stewart said there was very little provocation involved and Douch had behaved in an “extremely explosively violent manner”.

“The community is sick and tired of seeing and hearing about violence in licensed premises,” he said.

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Kat Duffy said her client, who now worked in solar panel installation, had found the suggestion that he would do something untoward to his friend highly offensive.

She also said it had been a stressful period of his life, including being under financial strain due to the COVID-19 lockdown and its impact on his employment.

The Richardson man was sentenced to three months’ jail, wholly suspended for a 12-month good behaviour order.

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