Family feud puts Donnelly in jail

A FORMER Grafton rugby league player has been sentenced to a year in jail for his part in a series of offences that occurred because of a feud between two Aboriginal families early last year.

Walter Donnelly, 24, of Baryulgil, fronted court yesterday to receive sentence for two counts of contravening an apprehended violence order, three counts of maliciously destroying or damaging property, two counts of common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalking with intent to create fear or physical harm and a charge of affray. He was also sentenced for breaking a bond for a suspended jail sentence for common assault in 2008.

The court heard Donnelly had been a player with Grafton rugby league clubs and had recently been playing with Northern United.

Donnelly’s barrister David Imlah told the court that Donnelly had been drawn into the family dispute during a time he was grieving over some deaths in the family.

He said that apart from the charges that arose from a riot in Robina Way in March last year, his client could not remember most of the offences because of the effects of alcohol.

Mr Imlah said that in recent months his client had curtailed his drinking and hoped that a substance abuse program at Namatjira House could further help Donnelly.

The court heard that Donnelly had been waiting to see if he had been accepted into their programs.

However, magistrate Kim Pogson said Donnelly would not be eligible for Namatjira House until the matters currently before court were dealt with.

Mr Pogson sentenced Donnelly to 12 months in jail with a six-month non-parole period on the affray charge. He also received six months each for charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault that occurred at the same time. He was fined $300 for contravening an AVO.

Donnelly also received a nine-month sentence with six-months non-parole for breaching a suspended jail sentence.

For charges arising from offences in January, Donnelly received six-month sentences for a common assault charge and intimidation to create fear of physical harm.

He received three months each for two counts of maliciously damaging property and also for contravening an AVO.

He was fined $300 for malicious damage to property.

Donnelly’s sentence began yesterday and he is due for release on August 21.

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