Mother stuns court with ‘amazing spirit of compassion’
A mother's impassioned victim impact statement to her son's attacker has left a magistrate "literally breathless" and hardened court staff with a tear in the eye.
Appearing at the Cleveland Magistrates Court on Tuesday Haydn John Alvisio, 19, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm, trespass and possessing dangerous drugs.
The court heard Alexandra Hills man Alvisio had punched his victim, a 15-year-old bayside student who cannot be named for legal reasons, on school grounds on May 26 in an unprovoked attack in what was a case of mistaken identity.
The court was told the defendant ran away to a waiting vehicle after punching the boy in the right eye.
The blow, witnessed by the victim's distraught younger siblings, left him so affected he could not ride his bicycle. He had since recovered from his injury.
Alvisio was also found in possession of cannabis in an unrelated incident on May 9.
In an unusual turn the victim's mother, who was accompanied by her husband in court, asked if she could address her son's attacker in an exchange that took Magistrate Deborah Vasta's breath away.
"I don't want to see you go to jail; I don't want to see you wreck your life; I want you to succeed; I don't hold any malice," the mother said.
"Okay mate? You don't know my son. I don't know you. You can do better.
"You've got your whole life ahead of you (but) you are throwing it away.
"I grew up with boys like you; three quarters of them are dead.
"I come hear today because I am worried for you.
"Your actions didn't just hurt my son, you damaged younger kids, scared the crap out of them.
"It is going to get you nowhere; wake up to yourself."
Magistrate Vasta said she was blown away by the mother's empathy, grace and amazing spirit of compassion.
Defence solicitor Bruce Johnstone said his client, who had no other criminal history, had been under the impression that the 15-year-old boy had been bullying a younger student on social media and had gone too far when he confronted him with the accusation. The claim was refuted by the victim and acknowledged by the defence as a case of "mistaken facts".
Alvisio's father also spoke at the court and said his son had lost his way after the death of his mother.
The father said his son was not normally violent and acknowledged that he only has limited chances left in life.
Mr Johnston said Alvisio, who broke down during proceedings, was deeply ashamed and regretted his actions on the day.
Magistrate Vasta said post traumatic stress disorder was a damaging legacy of violence and warned the defendant that he had affected not only a family but a whole school community with his unprovoked attack.
An enthralled court watched as Alvisio and his victim shook hands and hugged at the conclusion of the matter.
Alvisio was ordered to pay his victim $200 in compensation and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service.
He was further placed on a $150 good behaviour bond over four months and cannot come within 100 metres of the victim's school.
No conviction was recorded.
Originally published as Mother stuns court with 'amazing spirit of compassion'