'Compelling evidence': Attack described as cowardly

JOSHUA Staines’s alleged attack on a 16-year-old teenager with spina bifida was described in Orange court yesterday as cowardly, callous and totally unprovoked by the police prosecutor.

The alleged attack occurred  in a shopping centre on Saturday afternoon.

Staines, 20, was dressed in prison greens as he sat in the dock after spending two nights in custody, an experience his solicitor Philip Boncardo described as harrowing for the apprentice butcher who works at a supermarket in Orange.

Police prosecutor Phil Donato said the attack which happened at 1pm in front of a group of horrified shoppers inside Orange Central was recorded on CCTV which will be pivotal to the prosecution case.

Mr Boncardo told the court the circumstances leading to the alleged assault were a case of mistaken identity.

“My client walked up and flicked the hood of the victim mistakenly believing him to be someone he saw at a party.

“The victim turned around and yelled out ‘c--t you are dead’ to my client,” said Mr Boncardo.

He said the two of them became involved in a tussle.

“It wasn’t what you would call an archetypal coward punch or king-hit,” Mr Boncardo said.

Asking the court to grant bail Mr Boncardo said his client was on medication for depression and his mother was prepared to put up $1500 in surety.

However Mr Donato opposing bail, said  while the victim lay convulsing on the ground, the accused walked away and left the shopping centre.

He told the court the single punch to the right-hand side of the victim’s head with a closed fist had caused a fractured skull, bleeding on the brain, and a broken tooth to the victim.

“The CCTV footage will make compelling evidence,” Mr Donato said.

“While he is not a flight risk because of his employment this is an unprovoked and serious assault and bail is refused,” magistrate Terry Lucas said.

Staines’s girlfriend who was sitting in the court room began sobbing as bail was refused and was comforted by her mother.

Staines’s mother and her partner were also in court to support the accused.

Yesterday afternoon the victim was listed in a stable condition at Orange hospital and is being treated for his injuries in the high dependency ward.

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