A savage, unprovoked attack on a stranger in Albury has led to a Wodonga teenager being warned that further violence will land him in jail.
Nineteen-year-old Zac Warren Barton landed five punches to the face of the man, who had been waiting for his mates to buy food from Dean Street pizza restaurant Sweethearts.
Barton gave no reason for his horrific assault, which has had him front Albury Local Court for sentencing.
But that was not until after magistrate Erin Kennedy had to issue a warrant for Barton’s arrest after he initially failed to turn up.
Defence solicitor Tim Hemsley told Ms Kennedy that Barton had given him no reason why he had not arrived in court, the case having been listed for 9.30am.
Because of that, Mr Hemsley said he had no choice but to withdraw from the matter. Barton had previously pleaded guilty to affray.
But after the court considered a couple of other matters Mr Hemsley returned to court, followed by Barton.
He asked that the arrest warrant for Barton be withdrawn, which Ms Kennedy promptly did. Barton’s excuse for his late arrival, Mr Hemsley explained, was he had been delayed by traffic.
Ms Kennedy said there was no doubt about the grave nature of what Barton did back on June 16, 2017.
“It was totally unprovoked, alcohol-fueled violence. You could find yourself in prison if you conduct yourself in this way again.”
Barton was found to be unsuitable for an intensive corrections order as he lived in Victoria, with his mother in Wodonga.
But Mr Hemsley said Barton was deemed suitable for a community service order, so Ms Kennedy ordered he complete 250 hours of unpaid work on the single count of affray.
The victim, the court heard, was in Dean Street to buy some food, having earlier attended a Bliss n Eso concert at the SS&A Club. His friends went inside Sweethearts, but he waited outside.
It was then, at 11.50pm, that Barton and a group of other men approached the victim.
Barton accused him of being “cheeky” earlier in the night, but because the victim was “moderately affected” by alcohol he was unable to respond.
He then punched him to the face five times, causing the victim to stumble, lose his balance and fall on to a table. Barton then fled, leaving the victim “extremely upset and confused”.