’Caring’ dad assaults 12yo

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A “caring” father, in alleged retaliation for rock attacks on him and his children, has assaulted a 12-year-old boy in Pakenham, a court has heard.

The man pursued the attackers after one of his primary-school aged children came home crying with bleeding, open wounds on 15 April 2019.

He was told the step-son was stoned by three boys on bikes and that his daughter was trapped by them.

The accused and son rode bikes along a creek’s footpath where they came under rock attack by three boys, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court heard on 8 June.

Rocks struck the man’s shin and bike. He shielded his child away from the projectiles.

He then chased the attackers in order to “speak with their parents”, police told the court.

During the pursuit, the man rammed the victim’s bike, causing the boy to fall and hit his helmeted head on the ground.

As the boy lay on his back, he grabbed him by the upper arms, shook him and berated him.

The boy’s phone and glasses were damaged in the assault.

The man then stomped on the child’s bike wheel and threw the bike into the tree.

In court, the man pleaded guilty to unlawful assault, criminal damage and wilful damage.

Defence barrister Rishi Nathwani said the man was a “straight-forward man, a “caring father” who thought his children were “under attack”.

The man – who had since moved away from Pakenham – was “highly remorseful” for the incident, realising his conduct was “inappropriate”.

“Under the circumstances he went too far.”

Referees attested that he was a “responsible caring adult” who could be left with other people’s children in his care, Mr Nathwani said.

Magistrate Julie O’Donnell was “troubled” by the “concerning offending”.

“Any court would be troubled by assaults on children.”

Ms O’Donnell accepted the man’s impetus was to protect his daughter.

But he had other options such as calling the police, she said.

A prior conviction in 2017 – after which he completed an anger management course – was also a concern, Ms O’Donnell said.

In mitigation, she noted the man’s early plea, favourable references, the passage of time, the lack of subsequent offending and the “fairly unusual” circumstances.

The man was convicted and fined $1500.

He was ordered to pay $250 restitution for the damaged bike, phone and glasses.