A magistrate has shaken his head in amazement at the stark contrast between glowing character references for an Albury woman and her actions in punching a stranger sitting at a hotel poker machine.
"They speak of a completely opposite person," magistrate Imad Abdul-Karim said on Monday, having spent several minutes carefully reading the references before passing sentence.
Defence lawyer Angus Lingham said Kathleen Cameron was so shocked by her own behaviour that she rang the Star Hotel licensee the day after the assault to apologise.
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He said the 53-year-old mother and grandmother - "a person of excellent reputation in the community" who worked part-time as a supervisor in foster care - couldn't explain her offending.
"Her actions could only be described as completely isolated."
The incident over which she was charged - Cameron pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm - took place on July 31.
Police said the victim was playing a poker machine in the pub's gaming room about 9.30pm when he heard an argument coming from a group of nearby patrons.
"The victim did not intervene until the argument began to escalate and sounded aggressive."
He heard another woman who was with Cameron raising her voice in a threatening way towards another man playing a machine.
"The victim turned around and said 'can you lot just leave and leave him alone. He doesn't need this sh ..'."
Without any warning, Cameron turned on the victim and punched him to the right eye.
This left the man in pain and feeling dizzy.
The licensee immediately escorted Cameron from the pub.
Cameron handed herself in to police on August 8 and "showed remorse" for her violence, though she had a "vague" memory of what happened.
She had drunk up to three schooners of full-strength beer but had forgotten to take her medication that day "for several illnesses".
Cameron was convicted and fined $500.