No jail time will be served by the man who produced two machetes and escalated a fight, which ended with the violent death of his friend in Wangaratta last year.
Paul Kerr, 47, had seen cousins Jacob Allan and Christopher Meaney start a fight with his friends outside a house on White Street in the early hours of May 20, then fled inside a house.
When he returned, he was brandishing the weapons.
Police say Kerr’s actions were “excessive self-defence” as he cut Allan’s forehead, chest and ankle – which required surgery – and Meaney’s thumb and elbow, as well as fracturing the tip of the elbow.
He fled the scene when Meaney picked up one of the machetes.
Allan has been charged with murder after allegedly ending the fight by stomping on the head and chest of Kerr’s friend Russell Berry, who later died in hospital.
But Kerr disputed that timeline, saying he only ran back outside with the weapons because he saw Mr Berry being kicked in the head.
He appeared in Wangaratta Magistrates Court on Monday to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty to intentionally causing injury and affray.
But she changed her mind on Monday and placed him on a community corrections order for three years.
The strict order will involve 150 hours of community service, plus treatment for drug and alcohol issues, mental health and offending behaviour.
The pre-sentence report had also recommended Kerr nominate a fixed place of address and adhere to a curfew, which would not allow him to leave at night.
“Although we don’t use that phrase anymore, it looks a lot like home arrest,” Ms Stuthridge said.
She said Kerr had stuck to his version of events when speaking to police, then a psychologist as part of a pre-sentence report, telling the doctor “he saw his mates continue to be assaulted, including the stomping on the head, and that’s when he came out”.
“There is some consistency with his story,” she said.
Police maintain Allan allegedly inflicted the fatal blows after Kerr had run away.
Allan is due to appear in court next week, before his case likely moves up to the Supreme Court.