The president of the Victorian Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels, who punched and seriously injured an innocent job seeker he mistook for a threatening enemy bikie, has successfully appealed a six-month prison sentence.
Ray Hamment's explanation for his conduct, which caused a minor fracture to the victim's jaw, was that he feared the man was about to attack him during the undeclared war between the Hells Angels and rival gangs.
Melbourne's County Court heard that Hamment, pictured, felt ''scared'' when the man approached him in a McDonald's restaurant one morning in Thomastown and wrongly thought the victim asked if he was ''Ray junior''.
Ray Hamment jnr leaving court.
Defence counsel David Grace, QC, told a judge that the victim had actually asked his client, whose father is Ray Hamment, a veteran member of the Melbourne Hells Angels, ''is it Julian?''
Mr Grace said: ''He interpreted that as 'are you Ray junior'? and he thinks he's there to do him some harm.''
Mr Grace told judge Michael Bourke the incident, on June 7 last year, happened after the murder interstate of a Hells Angel, the formation of a Victoria Police anti-bikie taskforce and constant warnings and publicity about a ''simmering'' war with the Bandidos.
''He's putting on a brave face, but he's genuinely in fear,'' he said of Hamment's state at the time as the victim, under a hoodie, using a mobile phone and someone ''he's never seen before in his life'', approaches him.
Prosecutor Francesca Holmes said the victim had attended the restaurant to meet ''Julian'', someone he did not know, for a job interview, and after entering he tried to phone him before he thought Hamment was him.
Ms Holmes said the man approached Hamment, seated alone and looking at him, and asked ''is it Julian''? before Hamment ''sprung from his seat and took a fighting stance'' and then punched the victim.
Hamment, 46, who was jailed by a magistrate in February after pleading guilty to a charge of recklessly causing serious injury, appealed the sentence to Judge Bourke.
A qualified boilermaker who rebuilds engines and repairs trucks, he has a conviction for assaulting police in 1990 and was jailed with others for serious offences in 2005 when a man was assaulted and hung over a car park balustrade.
Hamment, said Mr Grace, had apologised to the victim for the ''harm and pain'' and ''realised he made a mistake'' when ''what he should have done was run out''.
Ms Holmes, who put no sentencing instructions, agreed with Judge Bourke's characterisation of the offending that, consistent with Hamment's explanation, it lacked the more aggressive circumstances of ''reacting in an utterly disproportionate way … without reason or explanation''.
Judge Bourke set aside the magistrate's order and jailed Hamment for three months, suspended the term for six months and fined him $2000.