Man jailed for bashing Bunnings worker
A BRISBANE vigilante has been jailed for attacking a Bunnings worker in a case of late-night mistaken identity.
Alex John Beeston, 32, attacked and broke Edward Haynes' jaw at a bus stop in Capalaba, east of Brisbane, in April last year after believing he had attacked a woman.
He was found guilty this week of grievous bodily harm and common assault and was sentenced in the Brisbane District Court today to three-and-a-half years' jail, to be suspended after 19 months.
Judge Julie Ryrie told Beeston, who has previously been convicted of assaulting an ex-partner, that he had no right to attack a complete stranger.
"You didn't have any basis at all to persist in asking him for ID, in following him, in chasing him and then punching him the way that you did," she said.
She advised him to undergo an anger management course while behind bars. Judge Ryrie said her sentence took into account the fact Beeston, a painter who was born in New Zealand, may be deported when released from jail.
Beeston was found guilty of the crime yesterday after his trial heard he punched Mr Haynes, 29, twice.
Mr Haynes told the court he was on his way home from work at 9.40pm when Beeston confronted him and grabbed him around the neck.
"I was trying to get his arm off me. I couldn't breathe. He was choking me on the ground," Mr Haynes testified.
"I was getting up slowly when he hit me. It knocked me down."
Beeston first confronted Mr Haynes after hearing a woman screaming and demanded his name and ID.
Mr Haynes said his name was Eddie and handed Beeston his driver's licence. Beeston then accused Mr Haynes of giving a fake name because the name on the licence was Edward, the prosecution said.
Mr Haynes ran away but fell over.
As he was trying to get up, Mr Haynes felt an elbow grip around his neck in a choke hold.
The court heard that was when Beeston pinned him to the ground and punched him twice because he suspected him of assaulting a woman.
Mr Haynes was taken by ambulance to hospital and later had an operation to repair his jaw with a metal plate.
Prosecutors argued Beeston punched Mr Haynes twice because he feared being laughed at when the first punch was a glancing blow.
The court heard Beeston, a painter born in New Zealand who was previously convicted of assaulting an ex-partner, was likely to be deported.
He has apologised to Mr Haynes, who since the attack has had long-term problems with his jaw and feels fearful when travelling to and from work.
"My actions were appalling on that night. I sincerely regret them," Beeston told the court.
"I want to apologise to my family. They didn't raise me this way."