Helping a friend leads to court appearance for Ballarat man

A BALLARAT man helped his friend “fix up” a bullying boyfriend by punching the man in the face, a court heard yesterday. 

In an assault which his defence lawyer said stemmed from “loyalty”, Benjamin Vermeend, 22, went to a neighbour’s home on October 11 last year after a male friend living at the home contacted Vermeend and asked for help to “fix up” his sister’s boyfriend.

Ballarat Magistrates Court heard Vermeend went to the Creswick home about 9.30am and began arguing with the victim before punching him in the face. 

Vermeend pleaded guilty to the charge of assault. 

The court heard Vermeend left the home shortly after the assault when his co-accused’s mother asked him to go.

Vermeend’s defence lawyer, David Tamanika, said his client thought he was being loyal to his friend. “He thought, at the time, he was doing the right thing for a friend,” Mr Tamanika said. 

Mr Tamanika said his client had been contacted by his friend several times in the past, with the friend often saying that his sister’s boyfriend had been “picking on me”.

The court heard Vermeend had recently apologised to the mother at the home and asked her to extend his apology to the victim. 

Mr Tamanika asked magistrate Cynthia Toose to consider a fine as his client had no prior convictions for violence and no criminal matters pending. 

Ms Toose agreed with Mr Tamanika’s submission, but said Vermeend had no right to assault the victim. 

“You had no place intervening or attending in the circumstances,” Ms Toose said. 

Vermeend was convicted and fined $700.