A gym owner who took matters into his own hands after a membership dispute has been sentenced for an assault on another man.
A gym owner who took matters into his own hands after a membership dispute has been sentenced for an assault on another man.

Gym owner slapped man who used his facility without paying

A GYM proprietor who slapped a man after he repeatedly used his facility without paying has been sentenced.

Thomas George Beetham, 33, from the suburb of Razorback southwest of Sydney, was charged with common assault and destroying or damaging property after the dispute broke out.

Mr Beetham appeared before Byron Bay Local Court via phone on Monday.

Defence solicitor John Weller conceded Beetham's behaviour was "inexcusable".

The court did not hear why the case was listed before the court in Byron, given the dispute occurred in Jindabyne.

The victim, Lawson Ovens, pulled into a Caltex service station about 6pm on August 12 last year and Beetham stopped nearby.

The pair exchanged words through Ovens' car window before Beetham slapped his victim across the face.

When Ovens tried to open his car door, Beetham kicked it, damaging the vehicle.

The pair then wrestled and ultimately fell to the ground.

Mr Weller told the court his client had been working hard to create a gym business at the time of the incident.

"When he moved to this area he was … involved with caring for animals but it was exacerbated by the bushfires," Mr Weller said.

"That was the environment at the time; he was working, running a business.

"When he confronted this person for numerous broken promises … there was a reaction."

Mr Weller tendered to the court personal references which painted the assault as "very much out of character".

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in Beetham's gym business folding and he moved south again.

Magistrate Karen Stafford accepted Beetham had "done a lot for the local community", that the dispute arose from unpaid gym membership and that he had undertaken an anger management course.

"This is not how you settle debts," Ms Stafford said.

Beetham was convicted of both offences, fined $800 and ordered to pay $500 compensation for the damage to the vehicle.



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