A former weightlifter once known by the nickname "Steroid Stan" has admitted to attacking a man in Holt, telling the victim words to the effect of "you ruined my marriage" before landing the first blow.
Stanley Hambesis fronted the ACT Supreme Court on Monday for a sentence hearing. He previously pleaded guilty to theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm - an offence prosecutor Rebecca Christensen described as "particularly vicious" in this instance.
An agreed statement of facts tendered to the court said the 60-year-old builder, who was a professional weightlifter in the 1980s, became friends with the victim in around 2014.
Hambesis played a part in an anabolic steroids scandal involving the Australian Institute of Sport in the 1980s. A story in The Canberra Times from 1988 said the weightlifter had a testosterone level three times normal, and that to have that much naturally he would "have to carry his testicles around in a barrow".
Hambesis' friendship with his victim ended in about 2015 or 2016 when his relationship broke down.
"The victim believed [Hambesis] blamed him for the marriage breakdown," the court documents said.
Hambesis and the man ran into each other at a house in Holt on July 29, 2019.
The former weightlifter told the man he'd ruined his marriage, and punched him in the head, back and ribs over the course of about two minutes, the documents said.
The documents said Hambesis put the man in a chokehold and told him words to the effect of: "This is what you get for ruining my life." The court on Monday heard the assault only ended when the man bit Hambesis, but the former weightlifter stole his wallet afterwards.
Hambesis' co-offender, Sione Feiloakitau Tuifua, told the victim his Range Rover belonged to Hambesis now. The victim signed over the car to Hambesis, and Tuifua drove off with it.
Defence barrister Ken Archer said Hambesis "lost his temper" on the night of the assault, but it was completely out of character for him.
He said the former weightlifter was remorseful about it, and Ms Christensen conceded the builder had a limited criminal history.
In the 1980s, Hambesis was given a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport for weightlifting.
According to a parliamentary inquiry, the then-head weightlifting coach at the institute, Lyn Jones, knew Hambesis had been taking banned drugs but tried to cover it up.
A committee found Mr Jones was involved in the "supply and administration" of anabolic steroids and other banned drugs to institute weightlifters.
Acting Justice David Robinson said he would sentence Hambesis for the assault and theft charges on Tuesday afternoon.
Correction: This article previously said Stanley Hambesis had been convicted of drug trafficking. This is incorrect. The Canberra Times apologises unreservedly for the error.