Elderly man punched in dispute over banana tree

A PUNCH UP over a banana tree growing and being watered regularly in a public housing complex left an elderly man in Gladstone Hospital and his neighbour charged with serious assault.

Troy Thompson, 45, will pay $200 compensation to his former friend and 67-year-old neighbour for pain and suffering after injuring him with a blow to the head.

Thompson pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to causing serious assault to a person aged over 60.

Prosecutor Snr Sgt Estelle Carnes said Thompson had taken his bin out when he became caught up in a verbal argument with his neighbour's wife as she was getting into a respite care van.

The woman was mad at him for wasting water on the banana tree.

Snr Sgt Carnes said the woman's husband came out of his flat and called out to him "in a not-so-friendly manner".

He pushed Thompson backwards, telling him to get out of his face.

Thompson fell back onto the stairs then got up and punched the man in the head, before being grabbed by the driver of the van.

"He had a banana tree planted in the front," defence lawyer Jun Pepito said.

"When the man's wife saw him she began verbally abusing him.

"He (her husband) began calling him names. It started with his watering of the banana tree.

"It's a shame because they used to be friends."

Mr Pepito said Thompson had since moved out of the Housing Commission flat after living there for nine years.

Thompson told Magistrate Barbara Tynan he had "terrible" anger management issues.

"And Catholic schools didn't help," he told the court.

Ms Tynan said Thompson had an "unlovely history" of offences and had been before the court so often that it was like his second home.

Snr Sgt Carnes said police conceded there was an element of provocation but there had been a large age difference.

She said Thompson's criminal history was "unenviable" and included assaults, domestic violence and jail time.

"Police submit that he is on the verge of actual prison time again," she said.

Thompson was ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid community service work and placed on a 15-month probation order.

The victim also received victims' assistance.

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