The family of an Albury teenager left with a permanent brain injury after being double-punched in Dean Street have slammed a $3000 fine handed to his attacker as "deeply disturbing".
Bailey Robert Burke was also placed on a community corrections order on Monday after Albury magistrate Rodney Brender accepted the 22-year-old had been subjected to a degree of provocation.
That was based on the victim, Will Young, having approached Burke - who apologised outside Albury Local Court - and his co-accused "aggressively" before he was attacked.
"It's not the classic 'king hit'," defence lawyer Mark Cronin said in arguing that the threshold for jail had not been crossed.
Mr Young's family vehemently disagreed with that assessment. The prosecution though agreed with Mr Cronin's submission because of this provocation.
The 19-year-old's parents, Tania and Andrew Young, sat in the back of the court for several minutes after the sentence was handed down.
When they left the court, Mrs Young was clearly upset.
Soon after, the family released a statement expressing how they were "bitterly disappointed. The message this sends to the community is deeply disturbing.
"It is not OK to be violent in Albury," they said.
"It is not OK to hit anyone."
The Youngs said Burke had only been handed "a slap on the wrist and a fine".
"This incident has left William Young with a permanent brain injury," they said.
"We hope he may return to work and study in the future."
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The Youngs said they had hoped their son's medical records from the past few months might have been put before the court.
"This is our first experience of 'justice' in our country and we feel William has been let down badly."
Burke, a 22-year-old first-year apprentice electrician, had previously pleaded guilty to a single charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Before delivering his decision, Mr Brender ordered the Springdale Heights man attend NSW Community Corrections in Albury for the preparation of a pre-sentence duty report.
This found Burke unsuitable for community service, as his job involved travelling outside of Albury for considerable periods of time.
His employer had made clear he would lose his job if Burke had to do this unpaid work.
For that reason, Mr Brender instead convicted Burke and placed him on the community corrections order.
The fine, he said, was large enough to inflict a genuine burden that in turn would deter him and others from committing such violence
"You're fortunate that the injuries were not worse," he said.
"This kind of attack on people in the street is totally unacceptable in the community."
The attack took place on July 7, police said, after Mr Young left a Dean Street establishment.
Burke and a friend were walking in the opposite direction to the victim.
When they encountered each other, an argument broke out and Mr Young walked aggressively towards Burke and his co-accused, who was later charged with common assault.
Burke then shoved Mr Young in the chest and twice punched him.
The teenager lost consciousness after his head hit the ground.
The co-accused then kicked Mr Young, who suffered a lacerated lip and was later diagnosed with an intracerebral bleed to the brain.
He was flown to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, where he was placed on life-support.
Mr Cronin said he was not seeking to excuse Burke's behaviour.
"My client pushed him," he said.
"That didn't stop his aggression and my client, regrettably, punched him twice. Certainly there's an element of provocation."
Mr Cronin said Burke "deeply regrets" his actions "and he's very concerned about the victim".