GUILTY: A man has pleaded guilty to hitting another man over the head with a wooden roadside reflector.
GUILTY: A man has pleaded guilty to hitting another man over the head with a wooden roadside reflector. Rob Wright

Man hospitalised after wooden picket used in brutal attack

A MAN whose victim was hospitalised for four days after being bashed over the head with a wooden guide post has been sentenced for his crime 15 years after the savage attack.

It was May 2004 when Leonardo Rene Morales used "excessive self defence” during a fight with two men at Inglewood, punched his then-girl-friend in the face and caused $3000 damage to a house.

Morales yesterday pleaded guilty in Warwick Magistrates Court to one count each of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst armed, assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage.

He also admitted to two counts of failing to appear, which was the reason his crimes had not been finalised until now.

The court heard the victim assaulted Morales and then jammed his foot against Morales's neck, while another man had his knees in Morales's back.

Magistrate Bevan Manthey said Morales asked to be let up from the ground and picked up a roadside picket and hit one of the men over the head.

"It was retaliation to the other person who had pinned him to the ground,” Mr Manthey said.

Police prosecutor Ken Wiggan said when it came to self defence, Morales's actions were "over the top”.

"What he's done is excessive and that's the reason he's been charged,” Sgt Wiggan said.

Lawyer Peter Sloane said the attack involved one blow, but the man was hospitalised for four days. He suffered a cut to the head that required stitches.

On the same evening, a drunken Morales also smashed louvres, internal walls and furniture inside a home.

Mr Sloane said the now 36-year-old, who was 21 at the time of the attack, also punched his then-girlfriend, splitting her lip and causing bruising.

Morales could not remember the incident, Mr Sloane said.

"He was in a relationship with her and has since left. He doesn't really understand what the argument about,” Mr Sloane said.

There was no excuse for Morales's first failure to appear, but Mr Sloane said a miscommunication was to blame for the second and Morales was not at fault.

The court heard Morales had previously spent three months in jail in 2006 for stabbing a man who was allegedly assaulting a woman he knew.

Mr Sloane said Morales, who now lives in Redbank, was getting help for anger management and possibly had work available after a short course in traffic road management.

"He's had his demons, he's had quite a lot of alcohol and drugs in his life, but he's been quite clean in recent times,” Mr Sloane said.

"There's been a fair bit of water under the bridge since then.”

During sentencing, Mr Manthey said there was a unique set of circumstances surrounding the assault and Morales had taken responsibility, rather than going to trial.

Morales was already on probation which was a significant factor, Mr Manthey said.

Morales was sentenced to 18 months' jail suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay $3158.10 for damage to the house.