A VULNERABLE victim who was brutally bashed by three young men in a daylight attack in 2011 fought back tears yesterday as he described the day he was set upon by the men.
Giving evidence in Ballarat Magistrates Court for the contested hearing of one of the men who punched and kicked him in the head, Simon O’Neil, 49, said he was left “cowering” on the ground and feared for his life as the group took turns to bash him.
“I was more or less in the fetal position,” the mentally ill victim said.
“I was just saying ‘leave me alone, leave me alone’.”
Zac Brereton, 20, of Ballarat, was found guilty of the attack on November 22, 2011, while a co-accused, Russell Oliver, 23, pleaded guilty to the attack.
A third co-accused had pleaded guilty at an earlier court hearing.
The court heard Mr O’Neil was standing out the front of the Ballarat Group Practice in Victoria Street about 4.15pm on the day of the attack when Brereton, Oliver and the third co-accused rode past him on bikes, asking if he wanted to “have a go”.
One of the trio then grabbed Mr O’Neil and knocked him to the ground, while the other two repeatedly kicked and punched him in the head.
A witness, who said she felt “physically ill” while watching the attack, told the court all three men kicked and punched Mr O’Neil and appeared to be “taking turns” while doing so.
Mr O’Neil tried to flee from the men who gave chase and continued to bash him.
He eventually managed to run away after the men stopped their assault due to the amount of people watching on.
The court heard the assault spilled onto the road and cars were forced to stop in order to avoid the men.
“I was scared for my life,” Mr O’Neil told the court.
“Why? Why did they want to bash me?”
He said he was left bruised all over with a mild concussion and headache, which lasted several days.
Magistrate Peter Mithen said he was satisfied the incident was a “brutal attack” and found Brereton guilty of affray.
Brereton was jailed for seven months, while Oliver was given a community corrections order, including 70 hours of unpaid community work.