A prisoner who was once stabbed behind bars "panicked" and participated in the bashing of a fellow inmate after being told he would be attacked if he refused, a court has heard.
Dylan Anthony Rannard, 26, appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court via audio-visual link from Canberra's jail, the Alexander Maconochie Centre, on Tuesday morning.
He had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, admitting he and Bradley Matthew Biddle, 25, attacked fellow prisoner Warwick Payne in November last year.
Payne, who has since been sentenced, was on remand at the time over an incident in which he threw knives at a terrified woman he had confined at his Hawker home for hours.
Court documents show the 53-year-old was sitting alone in his Alexander Maconochie Centre cell on the day in question when Rannard and Biddle came in and began, as Payne put it, "beating into me".
"[They] were punching into him whilst he was on the bed, where he blacked out momentarily," a police statement of facts says.
"When he came too [sic] again, they were still punching him the face and sides."
When Rannard and Biddle eventually ran off, Payne used the intercom in his cell to call for help from prison guards.
Payne had to be taken to Canberra Hospital for treatment, having suffered a number of injuries in the assault.
These included his right eye bleeding and closing up completely as a result of bruising and swelling, which was also present on his right ear.
Nearly a month later, Payne told police he was still taking medication to ease the pain he felt on the right side of his body.
When Rannard appeared in court for sentence proceedings on Tuesday, his lawyer, Priyanka Koci, said the man had been stabbed while imprisoned in Goulburn in 2016.
She said his injuries from that episode were so severe he had been airlifted to Canberra Hospital for treatment.
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Ms Koci said this was on Rannard's mind when he was issued an ultimatum last year.
She said he had been told to help attack Payne or be subjected to violence himself, so the 26-year-old "panicked and participated".
She told the court he now realised it was "an incredibly bad decision".
"He knows, from his personal experience, that it would have been terrifying for [Payne]," Ms Koci said.
"He was stressed and afraid, and felt compelled to participate."
Ms Koci conceded a further jail term was warranted, but she asked the court to consider suspending it.
She added that her client's remorse and relative youth meant rehabilitation was "not out of the question" for him
But a prosecutor indicated Rannard had a history of violence, and magistrate Robert Cook said it could be inferred that "there has been minimal rehabilitation in his journey".
Mr Cook decided to adjourn the matter to December 14, when he said he would impose a sentence on the 26-year-old.
He listed the matter of Biddle, who has also pleaded guilty, for the same day after Legal Aid lawyer Tanja Cobden told the court she needed time to obtain instructions from him.
The court heard both Rannard and Biddle were still in custody serving other sentences.
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