Man punches 71-year-old with dementia in road rage attack
AN IPSWICH court has heard of an ugly act of road rage in which a young man jumped onto the bonnet of an elderly woman's car before punching a 71-year-old man in the face.
The man suffers dementia and broke the passenger door handle while desperately trying to keep Hutchinson getting inside, the court was told.
A clearly appalled magistrate put many of the details of the offence on the record after reading the police document of agreed facts.
Magistrate Jason Schubert labelled the defendant's actions as cowardly and disgusting, and arising after Hutchinson had been tailgating the 72-year-old female driver.
The offender, Garry James Hutchinson, 26, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to seriously assaulting a person aged over 60 at Bundamba on April 7.
Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore said the conduct was violent and such road rage assaults must be discouraged.
Sgt Elmore said Hutchinson later told police the couple were lucky that they were elderly as he would have bashed them, ripped them out of the car, and smacked the woman in the mouth, if they were younger.
Defence lawyer Amy Zanders said Hutchinson was a father of three who suffered anxiety and depression after a relationship breakdown.
Ms Zanders said a supervised probation order or suspended jail sentence may help him get assistance for any underlying anger management issues.
She said there was a single punch and Hutchinson instructed he was regretful. The court was told he had since booked in for a psychologist appointment.
Mr Schubert said Hutchinson lied to police about his involvement in the incident, and one reference before the court referred to him as being "a bit of a hot head".
The magistrate read out Hutchinson's comments to police about bashing the couple, including the 72-year-old woman, if they had been younger.
"It's reprehensible, appalling and disgustingly cowardly," Mr Schubert said.
"You were tailgating the 72-year-old lady driver. You drove dangerously close to her car and passed her on the left.
"You drove in front of her and you stopped on the highway. She stops safely but given your manner of driving she has bumped your car.
"You jump out. You jump onto her car bonnet. Walk across the bonnet and attempt to open a passenger door."
Mr Schubert said the elderly man tried to hold the door shut but the handle came off inside.
Hutchinson punched the window three or four times, was able to open the door and punch the man in the face with a closed fist. Then drove off at speed.
"The gentleman you punched suffers dementia. He was visibly upset and distraught when talking to police," Mr Schubert said.
The magistrate said a sentence was necessary that would actively discourage him and others from such acts of violence. He said in such cases of violence, prison was not a sentence of last resort.
He convicted and sentenced Hutchinson to nine months jail, saying most people in the community would like to see him serve actual time behind bars.
Because there had been just one punch with minimal injury, Mr Schubert said he would order Hutchinson do this by way of an Intensive Corrections Order, which is served in the community.
Mr Schubert warned Hutchinson that if he breached this order he would be sent to jail. He must do counselling, programs and urine tests as part of the order.