A man who moved to Canberra thinking it was a safe place to live was viciously bashed by a racist attacker who yelled threats including, “Jackie Chan, I will kill you”.
On Friday (6 August), 28-year-old Christopher Stewart Wallace was sentenced over the brutal assault.
Magistrate James Stewart told the ACT Magistrates Court Wallace’s victim was clearly unable to defend himself from the “ultraviolence” while he was also racially abused.
Wallace went to a block of units in Turner on 31 January 2021. At about 4:30 am, he began yelling and kicked a door. The victim left his unit about four hours later to meet some friends, saw Wallace was there, and asked him to leave.
As he walked away, Wallace ran after him, grabbed him by the throat and began punching him in the face, saying, “Jackie Chan, I will kill you”.
Wallace told him to kneel, and when he didn’t, he punched him again. Wallace then yelled at a woman nearby, “Bring me a knife and I will kill him”.
He grabbed his victim by the throat and used his other hand to search his victim’s body for a wallet but found none.
“We know where you live. We will come knock on your door and we will kill you, or stab you in the street,” he told him.
Wallace also tried to break his victim’s glasses despite the man begging him not to.
His victim, who gave a statement to the court, said he moved to Australia and Canberra thinking they were safe places to live.
“But now I have lost confidence and trust in people,” he said.
He said the attack had impacted him both physically and mentally.
“I still feel pain in my face,” he said. “It has also affected my memory.”
As he has been unable to return to work, the attack also affected him financially and he is on a disability pension.
Wallace’s lawyer from Legal Aid said there was no shying away from the significant violence of the attack as the victim was left with injuries to his nose, knuckles, eyebrow region and neck.
The lawyer argued Wallace had shown insight into his attitude and had drafted a letter of apology he intended to send to his victim.
While Wallace bashed his victim only 11 days after being handed a suspended sentence for another matter, the lawyer said the last six-and-a-half months that his client had spent in jail over the attack had been a significant wake-up call for him.
But prosecutor Bwalya Chifuntwe argued a pre-sentencing report painted a “bleak picture” of Wallace, saying he showed no remorse, had been victim-blaming and behaved poorly while in custody.
He said the attack happened at his victim’s home and it was clear the man, who was subjected to racially charged comments, continued to suffer its impacts.
Wallace pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery. Magistrate Stewart sentenced him to 12 months’ jail, partially suspended after seven months. He will be released from custody in late August.
“Essentially, what you did was unacceptable and you have to be punished for it,” he told him.
“There was no need for this attack.”