A "cowardly" construction worker who bashed his neighbour with a baseball bat at a Canberra caravan park will serve his three-year jail sentence in the community because of COVID-19.
Matti Bruce Kemppainen sunk nearly a dozen beers on October 13, 2017, before he started arguing with his heavily intoxicated female neighbour.
The woman's husband, described in a ACT Supreme Court judgment as a "peacemaker", tried to de-escalate the situation, but Kemppainen told his partner Toni Belinda Rose to keep the woman there.
Kemppainen went inside his unit at Southside Village caravan park and retrieved a baseball bat, while Rose grabbed the woman by the hair and punched her in the face.
Kemppainen came out of the unit with the bat and paced quickly towards the woman's husband. The construction worker smashed the bat down on the man, who tried to protect his head with his arm.
"He heard a loud crack, felt the bones sticking out of his arm, and experienced excruciating pain," Chief Justice Helen Murrell said in the judgment.
"He began to bleed heavily."
Meantime, Rose grabbed the woman's hair again. The woman's husband was in the gutter clutching his arm when Kemppainen prodded him in the abdomen with the bat and threatened him.
Kemppainen was 27 at the time, while Rose was 25.
The man was hospitalised and had permanent scarring as a result of the attack, the judgment said.
He drinks heavily to try to forget about it, and hasn't been able to work.
Chief Justice Murrell, in sentencing the duo, said Kemppainen's crime amounted to a "cowardly and unprovoked assault". She said it was unplanned, but not entirely spontaneous given he had to go into his unit to get the baseball bat, while Rose was "following her partner's instructions".
Chief Justice Murrell said Kemppainen's offending would ordinarily warrant a term of full-time imprisonment, but "because of the exceptional situation with the pandemic", she'd opt for an intensive correction order. Kemppainen pleaded guilty to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.
"Currently, prisoners at the Alexander Maconochie Centre do not enjoy regular face-to-face meetings with family and friends, and are largely, if not exclusively, confined to video conferencing contact," Chief Justice Murrell said.
"This would be a particular problem for the offender, given his custodial role in relation to his child."
She handed down the judgment on June 16.
Chief Justice Murrell convicted Rose on two counts of common assault and sentenced her to comply with a two-year good behaviour order.