A man who beat his former cellmate unconscious in full view of children and families at Garema Place will spend more time behind bars, with a judge describing the attack as "brazen" and "vicious".
Matthew Shaun McGrail, 28, appeared in the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday. He was charged with recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, which he previously pleaded guilty to.
Justice John Burns told the court McGrail was on parole for other offences when he approached his ex-cellmate from the Alexander Maconochie Centre in Garema Place on May 26, 2019. The man was on crutches and talking to people in a group.
McGrail was initially friendly to the man, but when he wasn't looking, McGrail took off his jacket, folded it, put it down, and punched him in the head, the court heard.
The man tried to get away, but McGrail punched him in the head twice more, and he fell off his crutches to the ground. When the man was down, McGrail stomped on and kicked him in the head until he was unconscious.
McGrail told shocked passersby something to the effect of: "You don't know what this man has done to my family", Justice Burns said, but he didn't elaborate on what the man had done in court.
The victim was admitted to Canberra Hospital's intensive care unit in a serious condition after the incident. He had a skull fracture, a hematoma, lacerations to his face and ear, and was put in an induced coma.
While the fracture didn't require surgery, the man had to stay in hospital for four days, Justice Burns said. As a result of his injuries, he developed aspiration pneumonia, which saw the collapse of his left lung.
He would have permanent scarring, and could have psychological issues as a result of the attack.
"[This was] a brazen and vicious attack on an unsuspecting and vulnerable victim," Justice Burns said.
The court heard McGrail had an addiction to alcohol and drugs; namely, cannabis and methamphetamine.
Justice Burns said there was no evidence he was intoxicated in CCTV shown to the court.
McGrail was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison, with the term to start on 9 July, 2020 and finish on 8 April, 2024. He was already behind bars for previous offences.
He would be eligible for parole on February 1, 2022.