Assault conviction could affect bid for residency

AN Irishman who has been in Australia for eight years is seeking to avoid a conviction on an assault charge because it could impact on his application to attain residency.

Brian O’Boyle pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court to assaulting a security guard at Albury’s Zed Bar about 1.45am on September 29 last year.

When seeking no conviction, O’Boyle told magistrate Tony Murray how long he had been living here and said: “In all that time, I have never raised my hand against anyone.”

Mr Murray told him: “At the moment, I would convict you because it is an unprovoked assault.”

But he granted O’Boyle, 37, of Smollett Street, an adjournment of two weeks to allow him to seek evidence on the possible implications of a conviction to his residency.

The court was told in police facts O’Boyle became argumentative with two security guards who had asked him to leave.

He was in the beer garden and falling asleep at a table and one guard took hold of him to escort him out.

O’Boyle turned 180 degrees and hit the officer in the face with his fist before being removed.

Police arrived and saw him being held against a wall and using offensive language.

He was handcuffed, taken to the police station, shown closed circuit footage of him throwing the punch and said: “But I missed him.”

O’Boyle said he had since apologised to the staff, security guards and the owner.

He said he suffered severe facial injuries when assaulted in Albury’s main street in December 2012 and was taken into custody by immigration.

He told the court he had spent two months in Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre because his visa had “subsided without my knowledge”.

O’Boyle said he had been put under a lot of stress while obtaining a bridging visa and cannot work, get legal aid or social security.

“I’m in limbo basically,” the former barman said.

O’Boyle said his fiancee was covering his bills and rent.

He said the incident was sparked by Irish-related slurs against him.

“I only had three drinks. I was not falling asleep at the table,” he said.

When O’Boyle was detained in the detention centre, Albury councillors Daryl Betteridge and Darren Cameron launched a petition calling for his release.

Cr Betteridge said he collected 123 signatures before he found out O’Boyle would be freed.

He said nearly all those he had spoken to were positive about the campaign.

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