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The Canberra Times
The Canberra Times
Tim Piccione

Man glasses dance floor stranger 23 days after coward punch conviction

A packed Hopscotch, around the time of the assault last year. Picture by Keegan Carroll

An apprentice carpenter has narrowly missed time behind bars after he drunkenly glassed a stranger on a dance floor less than a month after being convicted for a coward punch assault.

"What is clear is he's on the knife-edge of going to the Alexander Maconochie Centre as a full-time inmate," magistrate Glenn Theakston said while sentencing the offender.

William Lewis Dyer, 22, faced the ACT Magistrates court on Thursday when he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The latest incident took place at Hopscotch in Braddon on an August 2022 Friday night.

When the victim was jostled by someone and accidentally fell against Dyer on the bar's dance floor, the "well and truly intoxicated" offender responded by smashing his glass against the back of the man's head.

The brazen and spontaneous assault caused two lacerations to the victim's head and cut Dyer's hand.

Aggravating the offending was the fact Dyer was convicted by the same court just 23 days prior for drunkenly, and without provocation, punching a stranger on the street, rendering that man unconscious.

The Braddon glassing breached the five-month suspended sentence Dyer was given for his coward punch offence.

He was therefore re-sentenced for the prior offence and handed a 12-month intensive correction order to be served in the community for his part in both incidents.

Dyer was also ordered to complete 160 hours of community service and pay $1600 in reparations to his victim.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said the incident had left him with stress and anxiety.

"I have not been the same person I was before this happened," the man said.

"Going out drinking and clubbing with my friends was the one thing I liked to do."

The court heard how the victim's family wanted him to return home to Korea and how the man was left with stitches that made sleeping difficult.

"Everyone can see [my scar] and everyone asks me about it," he said.

Defence lawyer Michael Kukulies-Smith said his remorseful and ashamed client's unprovoked attack had been "completely unjustified".

Mr Kukulies-Smith said using a glass as a weapon "posed the potential for even more serious injuries than those which did eventuate".

The lawyer told the court Dyer abstained from drinking for six months after the offending in order to address his issues with alcohol.

A prosecutor said specific deterrence was "paramount" in sentencing Dyer as a "young man engaging in alcohol-fuelled violence in public".

She said general deterrence was also needed for other men who might engage in the same behaviour.

Mr Theakston told the offender alcohol fuelling both assaults was not an excuse for his behaviour.

"People who drink are still accountable for their actions," he said.

However, the magistrate said the offending being spontaneous was the "distinction" between the two incidents and the reason why Dyer was escaping time behind bars.

"You're one of the luckier people to come before the court," Mr Theakston said, acknowledging the man's many supporters in the public gallery on Thursday.

"Thank your family for their support."

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