‘Lost the plot’: Man delivers near-fatal punch against mate
A FAR North man has been sentenced to three years' jail for a near-fatal one-punch attack on a friend after being accused of sleeping with his girlfriend.
Gemhat Dick Ishmail Bowie, 26, was sentenced in Cairns District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of unlawfully grievous bodily harm.
The court heard Bowie and the victim, 29-year-old Solomon Lancaster Accoom, were drinking with others in Lockhart River on October 4 last year when the pair had a heated argument about Mr Accoom's girlfriend.
An agreement was reached before the situation escalated again that night, leading to Bowie throwing the punch, described by one witness as a "steal punch", to Mr Accoom's face, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on a gutter.
Mr Accoom lost consciousness and Bowie fled the scene before others called emergency services.
Mr Accoom suffered a traumatic brain injury and was flown to Townsville Hospital after his condition deteriorated at Cairns Hospital.
The court heard he was in a coma for 10 nights and had his injuries gone untreated, he would have suffered significant losses in cognitive and neurological functions and the probability of death.
The victim, who saw Bowie as a little brother, has no memory of the punch.
In sentencing, Judge Paul Smith said the heated argument earlier was the "genesis" of what led to the punch.
"It does provide some degree of provocation but in no way justifies what you did," he said.
"It wasn't from behind but, despite that, it was very unwarranted. It's very fortunate there's no ongoing effects of this injury."
Judge Smith said while Bowie had no previous violent offending and did not intend to cause injury, he should have realised the substantial risks involved in the punch.
Crown prosecutor Tegan Grasso had argued for 3-4 years' jail because it was "gratuitous street violence" as both men drank in a community that has alcohol restrictions.
Ms Grasso said it was aggravated because Bowie did not help the victim after the attack and the potential for death was "the most serious part of this offending".
Defence barrister James Sheridan said his client was aware of the harm done and had apologised to the victim.
Mr Sheridan said his client denied the allegations he slept with Mr Accoom's girlfriend and threw the punch because he had "lost the plot".
Bowie will be released after serving 10 months when the jail term becomes suspended.
Originally published as 'Lost the plot': Man delivers near-fatal punch against mate