A Canberra mental health worker has avoided being sent to jail after he was sentenced for bashing a man in front of several children.
Kenneth Leigh Hammond, 30, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault before he was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (6 September).
The court heard he attacked the man on 21 January 2021 when they were in public and in front of children.
They had gotten into an argument, which resulted in Hammond punching his victim several times in the head, knocking him to the ground. The impact of landing dislocated his shoulder.
His victim wrote a statement that was read to the court stating the attack had left a lasting impact on him as he needed shoulder reconstructive surgery and could not work.
He said he no longer felt comfortable in the ACT and was now hypervigilant in public as he was afraid Hammond would attack him again.
The victim said he did nothing to deserve being assaulted and he felt it had almost taken a year of his life away from him.
Hammond’s lawyer, Connor McMaster from Tim Sharman Solicitors, said while his client’s actions were “totally reprehensible”, they were also “impulsive”, “hot-blooded” and unplanned.
He said his client, a mental health outreach worker who spent 20 hours in jail over the attack, had been in a troubled mental state and had been coming to grips with separating from his long-term partner.
He also described the violence as brief.
But prosecutor Chamil Wanigaratne said it was a “nasty incident” and it was concerning that it took place in public and in the presence of young children.
Magistrate James Lawton described the attack as a “very serious offence” and said the victim’s shoulder injury was a direct result of Hammond’s actions.
Hammond, a father of three, was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour order.