An Olympic hopeful has avoided convictions for an "animalistic" New Year's Eve attack on two strangers, despite eerie similarities between the boxer's assaults and a drug-fuelled murder.
Lorenz Martin Salunga Daley, 20, was "tripping" on LSD when he carried out what was described in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday as a "random and bizarre" attack on an innocent couple.
The victims were sitting in a car in Gowrie when Daley emerged from his home on the night in question and began screaming at them.
He told the male passenger to "get out of the car, c---" before racing around the vehicle and trying to pull the female driver out.
When the man came to his partner's defence and tried to push Daley away, the 20-year-old attacker briefly stopped and said: "Look at me, I'm a stallion."
He then punched the man in the face about three times, before hitting the woman in the chin and chest when she tried to stop him.
The victims eventually managed to drive away and call police.
When officers turned up at the scene and spoke to Daley, the boxer told them he must have had "a bad trip" after taking LSD, also known as acid, for the first time.
He was charged with two counts of common assault, to which he pleaded guilty.
In a statement read to the court on Friday, the male victim described Daley's actions as "animalistic, vicious and horrific".
"The months following the attack have left both my partner and I restless, afraid, anxious, angry, depressed, shocked and severely disturbed," he wrote.
The man's partner said: "[Daley] has made me feel unsafe in my own neighbourhood, in my private space in my home and my car."
Daley's lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, told the court his client had only "patchy memories" of the incident, which he found "very troubling".
Mr Kukulies-Smith said he had made Daley aware of how much worse the outcome could have been, referring to the 2019 murder of elderly man Richard Cater in Palmerston.
That case was similar to Daley's in many ways, with a 17-year-old boy taking LSD and "descending into a raving and violent marauder" whose attack on random strangers in a car turned fatal.
"In some ways, it is fortunate that [Daley] only stands charged with common assault," Mr Kukulies-Smith said.
"My client is obviously very relieved by that, but he remains alarmed at the position he has put himself and other people in. He is deeply sorry."
Mr Kukulies-Smith tendered to the court a number of references, saying they showed Daley was "otherwise a person of positive, good character".
The court heard Daley was a successful boxer who was considered a future candidate for Olympic selection. The 20-year-old also trained young children in the sport, in addition to his job as a lifeguard.
Urging Special Magistrate Jane Campbell not to record convictions, Mr Kukulies-Smith said Daley had made "a stupid decision" to take drugs without knowing how he would react.
A prosecutor opposed the making of a non-conviction order, saying one would not adequately recognise the harm done to the victims or send the right message to the community.
She said no one had forced illicit drugs upon Daley, who had perpetrated "a significant level of violence" on unsuspecting people who were still shaken.
Ms Campbell described the sentencing exercise as "extremely difficult", saying the "random and bizarre" nature of the episode had left the victims in ongoing fear.
Courts needed to discourage illicit drug-taking, she said, and show that violence would not be tolerated.
But she said Daley was a clearly remorseful person who made a number of positive contributions to the community.
"I am satisfied that Mr Daley has well and truly learnt his lesson and is unlikely to reoffend," Ms Campbell said.
She told the 20-year-old: "You have learnt a hard lesson that taking drugs can have some awful effects, and you never know what it's going to be. There are two people in this community who are still paying for your mistake."
But Ms Campbell decided not to record convictions, dismissing the charges.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: