A Yarrawonga man who supplied fireworks that left a member of the town's football premiership celebrations with lifelong injuries says he just wanted to be part of their flag festivities.
The Wangaratta court on Monday, February 12, heard Jess Koopman could have been killed during the September 26 incident last year.
Daniel Spencer, who said he was "addicted" to the mesmerising way fireworks light up the night sky, had a box of the explosives at his home after buying them for $350 in Springvale.
He was drinking by himself at the Bourke Hotel in Yarrawonga and had had 10 Jim Beam and colas, and congratulated members of the town's premiership side.
He suggested the group, which included players Brayden Coburn, Willie and Harry Wheeler, Reid Clarke and premiership captain Leigh Masters, grab some fireworks from his home.
Spencer took a taxi with Coburn and Clarke and got the fireworks before meeting the other players at Dunlop Street.
Two or three were let off in a rear yard before the group moved to a roundabout to fire off a larger rocket referred to as "the big one".
A hole was dug in the ground and the firework placed into it.
Spencer tried to light the fuse before Coburn had a go, and it appeared it hadn't lit.
Spencer took the blue lighter back and Koopman stood over the device to see why it wasn't working.
"He will have debris in his eyes forever," Leading Senior Constable Stuart Pritchard said.
Koopman was driven to Yarrawonga hospital then flown to The Alfred and was placed in a coma.
He awoke on October 3 and couldn't remember much, and it took four or five more days until he could talk.
He was released seven days after the incident.
Police had seized items from Spencer's Benalla Road home after the incident.
"I'm addicted to the way they light the night up," the 45-year-old told investigators.
Spencer said he'd paid $350 for the fireworks at Springvale and was sorry for what had occurred.
Lawyer Geoff Clancy noted the danger posed.
"This was a matter through fortune, if I can put it that way, that no one was killed," he said.
"This was a very traumatic experience for everyone involved.
Mr Clancy said Spencer had only wanted to be part of the club's premiership celebrations.
"Who lit the fuse on the big firework, we'll never know," he said.
Mr Clancy said the device went off "while the poor victim had his head over it, and somehow it wasn't fatal injuries".
The court heard the incident had been statewide news and Spencer felt ostracised in his home town.
He is a full time cleaner at Yarrawonga hospital and doesn't see himself socialising in the community again.
"It's just unfortunate no one pulled this up and said 'just don't do this'," Mr Clancy said.
"This is what happens when people who are not trained and alcohol affected use them."
Spencer has flashbacks of the incident.
"His thoughts have always been with the victim and wishing him a speed recovery," Mr Clancy said.
A reckless conduct endangering serious injury charge was dropped, and two fireworks offences were admitted.
Magistrate Allison Vaughan noted Spencer's desire to be part of the team's celebrations had ended in his complete isolation.
"The simple fact is this happened because you provided illegal fireworks to the group," she said.
"Whatever was going through your mind on that night has resulted in catastrophic events.
"They are catastrophic events that have affected you and will live with you no doubt your entire life as well.
"Mr Spencer, had this person died - I'm not sure what charges might have followed - we wouldn't be talking fines, you'd be in the County Court on the Supreme Court and you'd be talking about how many years you'd be spending in prison."
Spencer was fined $5000 and must pay $90 in costs.