Gympie bottle-o COVID fight leads to spirit level attack
An argument about social distancing in a bottle shop drive-through last year led to one Gympie region man attacking another with a spirit level.
The Gympie Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Ian Lee Howard, 39, became angry when the man sitting in the car behind him at the Mt Pleasant Hotel drive-through called him a “fool” on April 21, last year.
Police prosecutor Melissa Campbell told the court Howard got out of his vehicle, selected a beverage from the bottle shop and began to walk back to his vehicle before the victim yelled out to him.
The victim reportedly said “Can’t you read you fool?”, referring to bottle shop signs asking people to remain in vehicles and remain 1.5m away from each other and staff, and a verbal exchange between the two men followed.
Howard then opened his van, grabbed a spirit level, approached the victim in his driver’s seat and forced the level through the open window “a number of times” but did not connect with him, the court heard.
The victim then attempted to film Howard, who returned and grabbed his phone, prompting the victim to yell “Go away, COVID, get away, get away”.
Sgt Campbell said the victim eventually got his phone back.
Solicitor Chris Anderson told the court his client “would have ordinarily brushed (the insult) off”, but it got to him on that occasion.
Mr Anderson said Howard regretted his actions and acknowledged he should not have let the victim’s comments trigger him.
“It seems there were two fools involved in this,” Magistrate Chris Callaghan told Howard.
“You shouldn’t have behaved the way you behaved; the victim shouldn’t have behaved the way he behaved either but you took it a step too far.”
Howard was fined $400 after pleading guilty to one charge of public nuisance, and a conviction was not recorded against him.