ACT News

'Like a hollow wooden drum sound': Man guilty of bashing

A man has been found guilty of an assault that left a man with three eye socket fractures, a broken nose, and chipped teeth.

The attack occurred in April 2014 at the Belconnen Soccer Club, where Kane Rheinberger, 28, had been drinking with friends.

The victim and his wife said they were the subject of harassment by Rheinberger's group.

Rheinberger and the victim were later captured on CCTV talking to each other near a pokies area.

The victim told the court he said words to the effect of: "It might start off as a bit of fun. This is my wife, you should leave her alone."

The victim said their discussion was not aggressive at first, but that changed when one of Rheinberger's friends arrived.

The victim's wife was urging him to leave, and he had turned around to look at her when he was hit.

Rheinberger continued to hit the man after he fell to the ground.

One witness described one of the blows as being a "very, very forceful hit" which made a "big – like a hollow wooden drum sound".

He was left with serious injuries, and needed a plate put in to his face and surgery to repair the damage.

Rheinberger fought a charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm at trial.

He argued he had acted in self-defence after the victim was aggressive and moved to assault him.

But Justice John Burns found Rheinberger guilty on Wednesday.

"I am satisfied, based on the evidence of [the victim and his wife], that [the victim] did not make any verbal threats to the accused, or in any other way provoke the accused before the accused struck him," Justice Burns wrote in his judgment.

"There is some evidence that [the victim] may have behaved in a somewhat annoying manner on occasions at the club on April 6, 2014, but the evidence does not support the proposition that he was aggressive, or that his conduct was such as to bring him to the attention of club staff."

He found the victim and his wife to be credible witnesses, and said the CCTV revealed no threatening movement by the victim prior to the assault.

Rheinberger remains on bail until sentencing in May.