29 March 2023

Metal pole-wielding man sentenced for attacking two people outside birthday party in 'sickening' assault

| Travis Radford
Law Courts of the Australian Capital Territory

Kinnara Connors, aged 20, was sentenced to a two-year intensive correction order by the Galambany Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Kinnara Connors was spared more time in jail when sentenced for using a metal pole to strike two men on their heads outside a birthday party.

Both men were knocked to the ground during the March 2022 incident while one man, aged 56, was left unconscious and bleeding from his head.

Kinnara, then aged 19, left the scene with his then-27-year-old brother Stanley Connors, who wielded a hunting knife during the assault.

While Kinnara, a Ngunnawal, Ngambri and Wiradjuri man, said he was angry and intoxicated at the time, Special Magistrate Anthony Hopkins described the unprovoked attacks as “sickening”.

“Children were amongst those who witnessed the assaults,” he said. “What they saw must have been terrifying for them.”

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A family member of the victims told the court they had attempted to contact Kinnara in the hope he would apologise. They said the “last thing [they] wanted to do was to bring [Kinnara] to court” but he “chose not to have remorse”.

The court heard the now-20-year-old labelled his initial refusal to admit wrongdoing and apologise as pathetic.

“You said that what you did makes you feel sick and disgusted in yourself,” Special Magistrate Hopkins said. “You said you were deeply sorry. It is apparent that you are ashamed.”

Kinnara pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and one count of unlicensed driving.

His lawyer asked for an intensive correction order to allow him to serve his sentence in the community, rather than in prison. The Elders of the ACT Galambany Court, where Kinnara appeared, and the prosecutor both agreed with such an order.

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The court heard Kinnara was exposed to family violence, substance abuse, racism and separation from loved ones as a child.

Special Magistrate Hopkins said he had taken into account the 20 days Kinnara spent in custody after his arrest, which was the first time he had spent in jail.

He sentenced Kinnara in March 2023 to a two-year intensive correction order for the assaults and a good behaviour order of three months for an unrelated driving offence from August 2022.

“Full-time custody would bring to an end and potentially reverse the progress you have made towards rehabilitation,” he said.

The court heard Kinnara become involved in the holistic life management Worldview Foundation program in December 2022. A representative from the foundation said “he has been astounded by the positive changes that have occurred in [Connors’] life”.

In January 2023, Kinnara’s older brother Stanley pleaded guilty over his role in the assault and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

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