Ballina man’s actions posed ‘extreme risk’ to others
A BALLNA man who left his victim with cracked ribs after a random assault and fled police at speed in a stolen car while drunk, has avoided more time behind bars.
Jake Parke, 23, was sentenced for a host of crimes before the court in Byron Bay on Monday.
In the first incident, Parke was with another unknown man outside Ballina Court House shortly before 5am on January 15 this year.
According to court documents the victim, Anthony Reid, was released from the adjacent Ballina police station following an unrelated matter and Parke and his companion asked him for a cigarette as he passed them.
He declined and the group fought.
Bleeding, Reid waved down police on River St shortly afterwards and he later claimed he was kicked for about a minute by the men after he was knocked to the ground.
Reid suffered four cracked ribs, a broken nose and jaw from the assault.
In court on Monday, defence solicitor Kate Brady accepted this was a "serious" assault but said the police account was "fairly loose in terms of what each person did".
The court heard Parke had attended the Balund-a diversionary program.
"There's a clear nexus between alcohol misuse and offending, impulsiveness and risk-taking," she said.
In the pursuit incident, police were attending a job in Evans Head about 1.40am on February 15 when they saw a small red car travelling along Woodburn Evan Heads Rd.
Police estimated the car, driven by Parke, was travelling too fast and a pursuit began.
Parke continued along Woodburn Rd, onto the Pacific Highway, drove through Wardell and onto Ellis Rd in Alstonville.
Before police could breath test him, Parke sipped wine from a bladder, altering his potential reading.
Ms Brady said Parke claimed a frightening encounter occurred at a friend's girlfriend's home.
"He says about 10 people turned up at the house and threatened him and his friends," Ms Brady said.
"One of his friends ran off and was chased by the intruders."
She said they could not locate their friend and Parke made the "impulsive" and "poor decision" to drive home to, in his mind, flee a dangerous situation.
Parke had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, taking and driving a conveyance without consent, mid-range drink-driving, altering his breath alcohol concentration before a test and driving while disqualified.
Magistrate Karen Stafford described the assault as "severe".
During the pursuits, she said the fact speed was involved and Parke had passengers at the time made his offending more serious.
"I accept the categorisation by police that the risk to your passengers was extreme," she said.
Taking into account time spent on remand and at Balund-a, she sentenced Parke to 15 months prison, with a non-parole period of six months which was backdated to have already expired.