7 September 2021

'Hot-blooded' mental health worker avoids jail after bashing man in front of children

| Albert McKnight
Join the conversation
ACT Courts

Kenneth Leigh Hammond, 30, has been sentenced for an assault in January 2021. Photo: Albert McKnight.

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.

READ ALSO Pensioner ‘so ashamed’ over bloody glassing of friend on Christmas Eve

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.

READ ALSO Queenslander found hiding in Airbnb closet charged with breaching COVID lockdown

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.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

It’s rulings like this that put me off taking legal action for a serious injury I had. The ACT seems to just give good behaviour bonds even for serious crimes and leave victims to just deal with it. All you have to do is have some sad story about your life and you get let off by the judge,

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.