Liam Knight: 'It never should have happened'
Liam Knight told court how his life had changed after was he attacked with a steel bar which left him with permanent brain injuries.PT1M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3ajlh 620 349 June 20, 2014
For a brief moment, the young men looked at each other across the courtroom – one sitting in the dock flanked by prison guards, the other sitting in the gallery with a black walking stick.
At 18 years of age, they should have been on the cusp of the challenges and adventures that come with the start of adult life.
Instead, one is battling physical and intellectual injuries that will be with him forever, and the other – who inflicted them – is facing years in jail.
'My walking stick is a constant reminder of what I've lost': Liam Knight, centre, and supporters leave court on Friday. Photo: Dean Sewell
"I think I do [forgive him] but I'm still angry at him," Liam Knight would later tell the waiting media of the attack at an 18th birthday party that nearly claimed his life.
"I know he's remorseful … it never should have happened.
"But now I've just gotta try and get on with it."
In January last year, the teenager known as ''DS'' threw a metal pole at Liam's head after he was refused entry to an 18th birthday party at Forestville.
The pole pierced Knight's skull and came out the other side, leaving him with permanent brain injuries that he said would prevent him from surfing, playing rugby and perhaps even running again.
DS was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and is now being sentenced in the District Court.
"My family should never have heard the words 'your child has been seriously injured and may not live'," Liam said in a victim impact statement read by his brother to the court on Friday.
"I nearly lost my life numerous times that night.
"DS changed my whole life. For the simple fact that he could not get into a party. My life as it was before the injury is gone. The future I had planned has gone."
The court heard that DS was on bail at the time of the offence following convictions for offensive behaviour and hindering police.
Among the conditions he breached on the night of the assault was a requirement that he remain at home between 11pm and 6am.
He said that on the night of the attack, while drunk and affected by drugs, he had been angry and embarrassed about being told he couldn't come into the party, behaving in a "cocky and immature way".
The court heard this included yelling to one of the party guests "bring out your best fighter, I'll smash him".
"I think what I've done to Liam – there's no way I can change that. It will forever be with him, his family, my family.
"When I first came into custody, I was only thinking about how it affected my life. But I realise it's nothing in comparison to what other people have to go through."
Crown prosecutor Huw Baker said the wanton, violent and aggressive nature of the crime was such that a lengthy custodial sentence was the only appropriate punishment.
Family members from each side cried intermittently during the proceedings and left from separate exits.
DS will be sentenced on August 8.