It’s a feeling you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
No, I’m not talking about the pain of the shattered jaw and displaced teeth.
There is that – and the dozen screws and three plates which still hold my face together – but oddly enough there’s not much feeling left there at all. Mostly, it’s numb.
So while that part is pretty bad, the anxiety that followed being a victim of a serious assault was, I found, far worse.
Let me take you back to March 2006. I’d met a mate at the pub in Albury for a couple of beers after a sub-editing shift at The Border Mail.
I probably would have been OK to drive home but decided to “play it safe”. The irony, eh. Oh, how I wish I had have driven home.
As we walked to the taxi rank in Dean St I was attacked from behind at QEII Square by a group of teenagers and punched and kicked to the head repeatedly.
You’re probably wondering right now, “what did he do to cause it”.
It’s a question I felt like the entire world was asking in the aftermath of the attack and a key reason why it took me months to set foot in central Albury again.
The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing.
The facts are the chief offender was a 19-year-old schizophrenic who had been drinking heavily and smoking cannabis.
Maybe he thought I looked at him funny. Who knows what he was thinking. Probably not much.
There was an element of relief in October that year when this thug was sentenced to 16 months’ jail.
Magistrate Tony Murray said that he hoped "a clear and unequivocal message" was sent to young men about unprovoked assaults.
That “relief” lasted less than a year with Judge Martin Blackmore overturning the decision in the District Court. It was his view that "the magistrate was in error in sending him to jail”, instead issuing a 16-month suspended sentence and $500 fine.
Fast forward 12 years and not much has changed. We’ve just seen two women walk free after bashing a paramedic.
What hope have we got as a society when someone is more likely to serve time in jail for stealing a car or breaking into a business than carrying out a serious assault on another human being.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think a banged up car or smashed in front door carry too many mental scars for the rest of their lives.
We need magistrates and judges to send a serious message to these grubs that it’s not OK and that offences like this deserve jail time.
Anything less is just another kick in the teeth to victims.
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