ORANGE man Adam Ford buried his head in his hands when Judge Stephen Norrish sentenced his attacker to three years’ jail in Orange District Court on Thursday.
Queanbeyan footballer Tony Mack McLean is not eligible for release until October 2015 for the “vicious” single punch he delivered to the back of Mr Ford’s head outside the Royal Hotel in Orange last year.
Mr Ford spent three months in hospital after he suffered a brain haemorrhage and a fractured skull.
Judge Stephen Norrish said it was unclear what the future held for the former Orange Hawks and CYMS player.
During his sentencing of the 24-year-old McLean, Judge Norrish said the community was “sick and tired” of dealing with the consequences of alcohol-fuelled violence.
While McLean had no previous violent convictions, Judge Norrish said the single punch attack could be considered “vicious” because McLean rendered no assistance to Mr Ford, who was lying on the ground unconscious.
Instead, McLean put his hands in his pockets, walked away, sat on the gutter and watched the scene unfold.
“For no good reason [McLean] goes and strikes a person who is effectively a stranger. There was no regard to the victim, which could be categorised as vicious,” Judge Norrish said.
McLean’s partner wrote a character reference for him in which she pleaded with Judge Norrish not to enforce a jail term because, among other things, he would miss his daughter’s christening.
“The victim may have missed his next birthday completely,” Judge Norrish responded.
He said it was a “sad irony” that the circumstances of McLean’s family mirrored that of Mr Ford’s when he was in hospital, given that McLean’s family would lose their sole income provider and his business would close while he was in prison.
Judge Norrish said McLean did not show immediate remorse for his crime, but implied the remorse he felt after the event could have been a realisation of the ramifications of his actions.
McLean’s family was given the news the morning after his younger brother Jordan, an NRL player with the Melbourne Storm, was suspended for seven games for a tackle on Newcastle Knights player Alex McKinnon that broke McKinnon’s neck.