16 January 2023

Teen 'didn't think it was fair' to be charged over star picket stabbing, brutal assault

| Albert McKnight
Man leaving court

Dylan James Summerell, 19, leaves court after his sentence hearing on Thursday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

Not only did a teenager join in a group attack on a father stabbed with a star picket last Australia Day, but he also stood around laughing and filming a distressing assault where a young victim was viciously beaten.

But Dylan James Summerell said “he didn’t think it was fair he was charged with the offences” and “a warning should have been more prudent”, the prosecutor told the ACT Galambany Court at his sentence hearing on Thursday (12 January).

The circle sentencing court’s elders grilled the 19-year-old on what was going through his head on the nights of both incidents.

“I was just going through a stage where I was hanging out with the wrong people at the wrong time,” he said, saying his mother had been ill at the time.

But this did not fly with the court’s coordinator, Michele Abel.

“Right now, I’m hearing a lot of excuses,” she told him.

“Having a sick mum is no excuse for beating the crap out of somebody in their own home.”

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The father was at his north Canberra home in Taylor with his wife and seven children late on the night of 26 January 2022 when three men approached, became hostile and were chased away.

However, they returned with a metal star picket and wooden stakes and the father was hit over the head, punched in the face, stomped on and stabbed in the thigh. He was left with extensive injuries, including numerous lacerations and fractured ribs.

“All three took turns in assaulting [the father],” the prosecutor told the court.

The father’s 17-year-old daughter had also tried to intervene in the attack but was pushed over in the driveway when she did so.

The attackers were Summerell, a teen who was 17 at the time so is unable to be named, and allegedly Jayden Robert Caldwell, then 19, who remains before the courts.

Then on 26 March 2022, Summerell was present when a young man was brutally and viciously assaulted at length by 18-year-old Jamie Mitchell Barry.

Distressing footage of the assault was played to the court, showing him being punched repeatedly, kicked, taken to the ground, knocked unconscious for about 90 seconds, assaulted while unconscious and forced to take off his clothes before he ran away naked.

Summerell didn’t join the assault but stood around laughing and filming it on his mobile phone.

“I tried to stop my friend from doing it, but there was only so much I could do. Everyone was egging him on,” he said.

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He said he’d been drinking when the Australia Day stabbing happened and didn’t remember that night but hadn’t been drinking during the bashing in March.

“That’s even more disturbing that you’re stone-cold sober and taking pictures,” Elder Roseanne Longford told him.

“As a sober person, I don’t think you did enough that night.”

Summerell, an apprentice carpenter, has already spent 49 days in custody over the incidents. He pleaded guilty to assault over the January incident and being knowingly concerned in an assault for the March event.

Magistrate James Stewart adjourned for an intensive corrections order assessment report. He will hand down his sentence on 14 March. Summerell’s bail was continued.

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