Rodney James Gaeta represented himself in a trial at the Gladstone Magistrates Court and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.
Rodney James Gaeta represented himself in a trial at the Gladstone Magistrates Court and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Man's rage after finding former neighbour with ex-lover

A GLADSTONE dad has been found guilty of assaulting his former neighbour after finding him hiding in the bedroom of his ex-partner.

Rodney James Gaeta represented himself in a trial at the Gladstone Magistrates Court and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Two witnesses, the victim and Gaeta's ex-partner, gave evidence.

The court heard Gaeta and the victim were former neighbours of five years and Gaeta was in a relationship for 10 years with his ex-partner.

The court was not told what occurred between the parties to cause the feud, however, the victim and Gaeta's ex-partner maintained a relationship.

The woman told the court she ended the relationship with Gaeta in June 2017, however, Gaeta told the court he was still under the impression the pair were together the day of the offending on November 10, 2017.

The woman and the victim were inside drinking coffee when there was a loud knock at the door.

She turned to the victim and told him she "knew that knock" as Gaeta's. The court heard she panicked and to avoid an argument between the long-time feuding men, told the victim to hide in the bedroom.

Gaeta jumped the side fence and tried the sliding backdoor. During the trial the woman told the court she, out of fear, opened the door a small amount to ask what Gaeta wanted when he pushed past her to get inside.

Gaeta told the court she let him inside and asked him: "What's wrong hun?"

All three - Gaeta, the woman and the victim - gave varying versions of what happened next.

Gaeta told the court he and his now-ex partner were having a conversation when he heard a noise in the bedroom.

He told the court despite the woman telling him not to go in the room he thought he "had a right to know".

Gaeta said he saw the victim run across the bedroom and into the walk-in wardrobe but Gaeta put his foot in the door jarring it.

Gaeta told the court he was trying to move his foot from the door when he reached into the wardrobe and scratched the victim's arm and torso.

He said he was trying to move the furniture the victim was using to block the door.

Gaeta admitted to calling the victim a "c--t" but said it was because his foot was in pain.

The victim told the court Gaeta was abusing him and called him "every swear word you can think of", provoking him to come out and fight.

After Gaeta freed his foot he left the house, the court was told.

"I called him a lowlife, yeah," he said.

"She was playing me and she was playing him.

"I understand the relationship is over now."

After the one-day trial Magistrate Philippa Beckinsale said Mr Gaeta failed to prove he did not assault the man.

Ms Beckinsale said she recognised there was an extreme amount of conflict between the parties, however, this did not change the fact he entered the home without permission and scratched the man.

"You have been given the run around," she said to Gaeta.

She noted during the trial that Gaeta told the court he had messages to prove his belief the pair were still in a relationship and therefore thought he had "every right to be there".

Ms Beckinsale said she also took into account Gaeta's claims the scratches were an attempt to remove his foot from the door and not a deliberate attack.

Gaeta was found guilty and fined $750 for the offence, a conviction was not recorded.



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