RIDING a stolen horse into the Jockey Club Hotel was the least of the crimes committed on February 9 by a young man who later punched someone he did not know, for no reason other than mistaken identity.

Ironically, the severe and traumatic facial injuries suffered by the victim appeared to provide the only circumstance that kept Matthew Lawrence Grimstone out of jail, when the then 23-year-old appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court yesterday.

Grimstone was ordered to work and pay nearly $6000 compensation.

'NO JOKE': Unbelievable footage of a horse being ridden through the veranda of the Jockey Club Hotel was anonymously supplied to horse owner whose horse went missing form the Bull n Bronc on Saturday night.
'NO JOKE': Unbelievable footage of a horse being ridden through the veranda of the Jockey Club Hotel was anonymously supplied to horse owner whose horse went missing form the Bull n Bronc on Saturday night. Contributed

It was "a finely balanced decision" yesterday when Gympie Magistrate Chris Callaghan stopped short of jailing Grimstone, instead ordering him to keep working so he could pay compensation to his victim.

MORE: Family's shock as missing rodeo horse ridden on Gympie pub verandah

He also ordered 200 hours community service over another violent incident.

Unlawfully taking the horse, without permission from its owner and riding it along the hotel veranda was a minor offence compared to what police and Mr Callaghan denounced as "alcohol fuelled violence".

The police prosecutor called for 12 months jail with parole after four months.

"I ask the court to send a very clear message," he said.

He said the assault victim deserved compensation for pain and suffering, on top of out-of-pocket medical costs.

 

Matt Grimstone
Matt Grimstone Facebook

Grimstone's solicitor Elizabeth McAulay said she could not argue with a 12-month sentence but suggested immediate parole, to avoid punishing Grimstone's family as well.

Grimstone was 23 years old at the time of this offence, and 18 in 2014, when he committed a comparable offence.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a horse, assault with bodily harm and committing a public nuisance.

The assault was by far the most serious, Mr Callaghan said.

He had confronted his victim, mistakenly saying, "You king hit my friend last time I saw you.

"(The victim) called you a weak c--- and challenged you to fight outside."

Grimstone had not accepted the challenge, but later, when a third person stood between them, preventing the victim from seeing Grimstone, Grimstone had punched his victim in the face, "at least twice, with full force".

 

Matthew Grimstone
Matthew Grimstone Facebook

"He didn't see the punches coming," Mr Callaghan said.

The blows "broke bones in his face, causing him multiple complex facial fractures and a broken tooth".

About 2am on February 10, the same night, Grimstone had run towards a person at a cab rank and engaged him in a fight.

"You were obviously intoxicated," the magistrate said, adding that by law "and rightly", this was no mitigation.

"Alcohol fuelled violence is to be denounced by the courts, reflecting community attitudes," he said.

Grimstone had caused "a great deal of damage to this person and I want to see him properly and appropriately compensated," Mr Callaghan said. "You can't do that if you are in jail. You can if you are working."

This was "not only to make reparation to the victim but also to make you pay for what you have done."

He sentenced Grimstone to 12 months with immediate parole and 200 hours community service, with restitution and compensation totalling $5879.