A brutal pub room brawler was uncharacteristically subdued when told he would spend the rest of the year behind bars, simply hugging his mother and telling her that he loved her before being escorted off to prison.
Jayden Stephen Kirkman, 24, had bashed his unsuspecting victim in Moby Dick’s Tavern and set off a brawl, with Magistrate Robert Cook telling the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (26 August) the attack involved “mindless, senseless, prolonged, unprovoked and gratuitous acts of violence”.
The public affray kicked off because of Kirkman’s “relentless pursuit of [his young victim] for whatever reason”, he said.
As recorded in court documents and closed-circuit television footage screened to the court, Kirkman was at the tavern in Holt at about 10:00 pm on 20 November 2020.
He followed his victim into a corridor and pushed him in the chest, shoving him backwards, then headbutted the young man in the face so hard he knocked out a tooth.
A co-defendant grabbed the victim in a headlock and pulled him against the bar, where Kirkman, the co-defendant and another man, repeatedly punched him.
A number of patrons tried to break up the brawl and Kirkman was taken into a back room.
The victim left the tavern and walked away, but Kirkman broke free from people trying to hold him back, charged through other patrons and chased the man to continue attacking him outside.
Prosecutor Sam Bargwanna said Kirkman did not know his victim and the “random attack” in the crowded tavern seemed to have been sparked out of “absolutely nowhere”.
He said the victim was missing a tooth and would require ongoing medical treatment.
Kirkman would return to Moby Dick’s Tavern. At about 8:00 pm on 12 February 2021, he was in the pub when he poured a beer into his shoe then drank it, in what is colloquially termed a ‘shoey’.
The tavern’s manager told him to leave, but as he was leaving, he screamed loudly at other patrons then kicked chairs and tables before smashing a schooner of beer.
He then took off his clothes, leaving him in his underwear. Later that same night he smashed the front window of the Domino’s Pizza store in Holt.
Kirkman’s lawyer, Amelia Gordon from Canberra Criminal Lawyers, said alcohol use and mental health issues lay behind his offending. She asked for him to be released into the community on an intensive corrections order (ICO) so he had the opportunity to address these key factors.
She said he lost his job in October 2020, which led to a decline in his mental health and a relapse into alcohol misuse.
He had recently been working as a concreter in a new job and could return there once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
But the court also heard Kirkman had been assessed as unsuitable for an ICO. He was on a suspended sentence for a common assault at the time of this fresh offending.
“What stands out most stark”, Magistrate Cook said, was that despite Kirkman’s previous convictions, there had been no real attempt by him to move forward and do something about his underlying issues.
Kirkman had pleaded guilty to charges of affray, assault and damaging property.
He was jailed for 10 months with five to be served in full-time custody. He will be released from prison in January 2022 to serve a 12-month good behaviour order.
He was also fined $500 and ordered to repay about $5000 for the damaged window.