Director of Public Prosecutions v Stephen Newton Ryan (2007) H&FLR 2014-49
County Court of Victoria (Australia)
c. 20 March 2007
Coram: Judge McInerney
Appearing for the Prosecution: Carolyn Burnside (instructed by the Office of Public Prosecutions)
Appearing for the Defendant: Brian Bourke (instructors not known)
Catchwords: Australia – Victoria – soccer – altercation between spectators -serious injury – assault – sentencing considerations
Facts: On 29 June 2003 the accused attended an under-11s soccer match at Caloola Reserve, Oakleigh, in which his son was playing. It was alleged that he had been telling players from his son’s team to kick and punch a player on the opposing team after a penalty shot was awarded. The victim – the father of one of the players on the opposing team – remonstrated with him. In the ensuing altercation the victim grabbed the accused’s umbrella and suffered a hand injury when it was yanked away. When the victim turned to walk away, the accused struck him from behind with the umbrella, causing a spoke to become lodged in his back.
The accused was charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious injury*. He pleaded not guilty at a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court and was committed to stand trial in the County Court: McLean v Ryan (2006), The Age, 15 September 2006. At trial he pleaded guilty to assault**.
Held: The Court accepted that the offence had been committed in the heat of the moment and that the accused had allowed himself to be overcome by circumstances. However, His Honour also considered that it was becoming too common for parents at soccer matches to lose their self-control, and that neither the accused nor victim had brought credit to themselves and had set a bad example to the children present.
A conviction was recorded against the accused and a fine of $3,000.00 imposed.
No written judgment has been made available. The report has been prepared based on newspaper accounts in The Age of 1 July 2003 and 15 September 2006 and the Herald Sun of 14 September 2006 and 21 March 2007.
* Crimes Act 1958 (Vic.), §16 and §17.
** Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic.), §23
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