Magistrate questions sense

A MAGISTRATE has questioned the sense behind asking a man waiting for his young daughter to move from the passageway of a cinema, even though he ended up being charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

A 23-year-old female duty manager received a cut eye after being punched by Dean Robert Bloxidge on July 5 at Gladstone Cinema, the injury needing eight stitches.

Poor quality CCTV footage captured the incident, but was of little use in making a clear determination of what transpired, the court heard.

Police prosecutor Acting Senior Constable Sean Franklin told the court the defendant was standing outside a theatre when he was asked to move by an employee.

Bloxidge was holding his two-year-old daughter at the time, and refused to budge, telling the staff member he was waiting for his eight-year-old daughter who was watching a movie.

The employee left and returned with the manager, and an argument soon erupted with the man.

“The defendant pushed her with his left arm and was acting aggressively,” Acting Snr Const Franklin said.

“He punched her (the manager) once to the head with a fist and her head hit the wall.”

The man's daughter came out of the movie, and he left with the children, swearing as he departed.

The manager was treated for the cut on her left eyebrow, which left a one-centimetre scar.

The defendant was interviewed by police and told them he had been pushed under the chin and chested by the manager and may have accidentally punched her after this occurred.

“She does not recall any chesting, was stunned and hazy on the exact lead-up (to being punched),” Acting Snr Const Franklin said.

A victim impact statement was tendered, and Magistrate Damian Carroll told the court the manager was now very anxious performing certain duties and had trouble sleeping.

Barrister David Murray told the court his client had no history of violence, and was highly regarded in the community among peers and family.

“The catalyst for the reaction was the eight year old still being in the cinema,” Mr Murray said.

Bloxidge had removed his two year old from the theatre to stop the child disrupting patrons, but wanted to remain in clear view of his other daughter when she came out.

“He had already been through the story several times with the other employee, and then the manager was in his face badgering him and he reacted,” Mr Murray said.

Mr Murray asked for a substantial fine to be imposed.

“He's extraordinarily remorseful and appalled at his actions,” Mr Murray said.

Mr Carroll said he was “surprised this matter escalated to the point it did,” and commonsense could have prevailed.

In sentencing, Mr Carroll said the action was disproportionate to the provocation, and employees had the right to be protected in their places of work.

Bloxidge was sentenced to two months in prison, wholly suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to pay $1500 compensation to the victim.

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