'She had to gouge his eye to get him off': court told

Joel Woodroofe, a furniture maker, on the steps of Gladstone Courthouse. Photo Ross Irby / The Observer
Joel Woodroofe, a furniture maker, on the steps of Gladstone Courthouse. Photo Ross Irby / The Observer Ross Irby

IT was a cracker start to 2016 for Joel Woodroofe when an overnight new year's party on the banks of the Calliope River left him gasping in pain.

Woodroofe was drinking and smoking cannabis when at 2am the fun night took an ugly twist as fights broke out between some revellers at their camp site.

Gladstone Magistrates Court heard how Woodroofe, 34, argued with a man who held a dog by its leash. A tyre iron was on the ground near them. Police prosecutor Gavin Reece said Woodroofe was grossly intoxicated and witnesses saw him and the man wrestle.

Woodroofe had the man in a headlock and when the man grabbed Woodroofe's testicles he "lost it" and let go.

Mr Reece said he was told to calm down by another man and began fighting with him.

When a woman intervened to try and break it up Woodroofe threw her to the ground.

"He was on top of her and had his hands around her throat," Mr Reece said.

"She had to gouge his eye to get him off."

Mr Reece said police were called to the scene and Woodroofe admitted to smoking cannabis that night. In his vehicle police found a small quantity of green leafy material (cannabis) and a grinder.

Woodroofe, from Boyne Island, pleaded guilty to committing a public nuisance; possession of drugs and drug utensils, and failing to appear before court.

Lawyer Jun Pepito said Woodroofe was a timber furniture maker and alcohol was an issue. He claimed to have no paperwork about a court date and missed it.

Magistrate Penelope Hay said it was not the first time he had been to court on offences of violence.

She said he also had five previous failures to appear before a court.

Ms Hay told Woodroofe he should already be well aware that the combination of alcohol and drugs "is not good for you".

"Yet you took that risk and it did not turn out well.

"At 34 you are old enough to know better."

She said that as an "experienced offender" he knew about court dates and his excuse offered had been a woeful explanation.

Ms Hay said the physical violence he used on the woman had been "a strangulation by you" and it had been fortunate she was able to stop him by gauging an eye.

She sentenced Woodroofe to three months jail - immediately suspended for two years.

He was placed on two years supervised Probation and told to get assistance to help with the underlying problems of drugs and alcohol.

Woodroofe must also submit to urine tests and counselling.

Topics:  crime drugs editors picks gladstone gladstonecourt gladstone magistrates court violence

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