South Grafton man spared jail over one-punch attack

A YOUNG man who punched an unsuspecting 17-year-old outside a South Grafton ATM has been spared jail.

Ben Jackson, 20, was sentenced in Grafton Local Court this week after pleading guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, in relation to an incident captured on CCTV on July 30.

The footage, played in the courtroom ahead of sentencing, showed the victim walking from a Bendigo Bank ATM to his mother's car when the assailant - who was known to him - ran at him from behind and punched him in the side of the mouth.

The victim had been looking down at a receipt and didn't see the hit coming until the last few moments. He fell against his mother's car and onto the ground, but remained conscious.

Police arrested Jackson at his residence in South Grafton later that night.

Speaking to The Daily Examiner in October, the victim's father Anthony Tajber said the assault left his teenage son unable to eat properly for a week and traumatised his mother, who was a witness.

According to police facts, the incident was preceded by an argument between the pair on July 23, in which the accused struck the victim in the mouth with a closed fist after accusing him of sleeping with his girlfriend.

Allegations of another incident involving both parties, in which Jackson was the victim, also arose in court proceedings.

Neither matter was reported to police.

"There was some talk of it being a vigilante revenge attack which (Jackson) says he was the victim of in the two weeks prior," said defence solicitor Greg Coombes.

"It wasn't reported to police but was never disputed, and it appeared he took it in his own hands to retaliate in this way."

Mr Coombes said there some minor dispute with police facts over his client's actions following the assault, but ultimately, he believed the fact Jackson had since gained full-time employment and had stopped regular use of cannabis kept him out of jail.

Instead, Magistrate Robyn Denes dealt with him by way of a two-year good behaviour bond.

"It was a good sentence for him," Mr Coombes said.

"He was dealt with, I guess you could say leniently, but a big part of that was abstinence from some illicit drugs."

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