Border footballer provoked in protecting sister

AN obnoxious drunk who referred to a woman as a “whore” and “slut” along with performing oral sex gestures was knocked unconscious by one punch from her brother, a court heard yesterday.

Border footballer James Breen was upset by the offensive remarks made outside Charcoal Chicken in Dean Street, Albury, about 3am on December 15.

The court heard Breen made repeated requests for the victim to stop abusing and taunting his younger, frightened sibling.

The victim was told to back off as they stood face to face and was then hit with a closed left fist to the lip and jaw.

He fell to the ground with his head making a sudden and forceful impact with the footpath.

The victim lost consciousness for a short time and Breen was escorted away by security from The Bended Elbow.

Paramedics arrived at the scene to treat the victim, took him to the Albury hospital and he received five stitches to the back of his head.

Breen, 23, of Oak Court, Thurgoona, yesterday pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and police withdrew a charge of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

Magistrate Tony Murray said Breen was lucky the victim did not suffer more serious injuries.

But he added: “It is some of the worst provocation for this type of offence I have come across”.

Solicitor Mark Cronin said Breen’s sister was a ballet dancer and teacher with a slight build.

They were confronted by a drunken group of four or five men.

Mr Cronin said it was out of frustration, anger and concern for his sister that Breen struck the victim once.

“There was high provocation,” Mr Cronin said.

Breen, a footballer with Holbrook last season, who topped the Hume league goal-kicking with 91 goals, is doing a double degree course at university in Melbourne.

Mr Murray said it was the on-going, highly offensive behaviour of the victim which led to Breen’s court appearance.

“Quite clearly it would have been more sensible to walk away,” Mr Murray said to Breen when convicting him and putting him on a 12-month bond.