'Leader of the pack' jailed after sickening coward punch
THE country was shocked when footage emerged of 19-year-old Taliesin Tardrew-O'Meara being knocked out in an unprovoked attack at Surfers Paradise during schoolies week.
That shock continued when the man who delivered that punch, Caleb Maraku, 19, was given just 12 months' probation and another involved, Frankie Roman Jeretic, 21, was fined $3000.
Now, the "leader of the pack" Mitchell Mark Hele, 21, has been sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment after video footage emerged of him telling a security guard the group were planning to "punch someone's head in".
Hele's lawyer Ben Rynderman has already moved to launch an appeal against the decision
The body-worn camera footage wasn't discovered by police until after Maraku and Jeretic had been sentenced in the Southport Magistrates Court.
Nambour-born Hele yesterday pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm whilst in company.
Sicking footage was played in court which showed Hele running after Mr Tardrew-O'Meara, who had told the group to stop talking to his girlfriend in a demeaning way.
CCTV from council owned cameras and a convenience store as well as footage recorded by members of the public pieced together the attack in which the victim was dealt a number of punches and kicks before the final blow.
Hele, instead of helping Mr Tardrew-O'Meara, stood over him before walking away.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Tardrew-O'Meara said he would suffer "lifelong physical and emotional scars" and had difficulty eating and speaking due to lip injuries.
The A-grade athlete now suffers constant pain because of his cracked teeth, memory loss and head spins.
He moved to America in January to pursue a sports scholarship, but his training was delayed by his injuries.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Dave Bradley argued the facts of Hele's offending were "dramatically" different compared to his co-accused owing to the revelation the act was premeditated.
On this basis, Snr Sgt Bradley said little weight should be given to Maraku and Jeretic's punishments when sentencing Hele.
Mr Rynderman maintained his client should be given an "equal or lesser" sentence to Maraku and while responsible for the injuries by way of being an instigator, didn't throw the final punch.
Letters to the court from Hele's boss and his boss's wife described him as being a person of good character, but Magistrate John Parker said Hele had "lost the ability" to describe himself as such.
Hele, who has no Queensland criminal history, had maintained a close relationship with his employer during the years he's spent working at the concreting business.
In his sentencing remarks, Mr Parker described the group as a "pack of cowards" and said Hele - the "leader of the pack - "just wanted to top off (his) night with giving someone a good belting".
"This kind of testosterone, drug or alcohol fuelled violence has got to stop," he said.
"In spite of what the other two (offenders) received, only jail for you will meet the expectations of the community."
Hele was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment with parole release on October 6.
His mother was seen crying in the gallery as police officers prepared to take her son to prison.
Hele made an appeal bail attempt yesterday afternoon, but this was refused by Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist.