A 22-year-old who punched and kicked a man at Bluestone nightclub and was caught with drugs at Spilt Milk festival has been warned he would have gone to jail if not for his young age.
Sebastopol man Kaleb Delaland pleaded guilty at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to recklessly causing injury and possessing illicit drugs.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Ben Jones said Delaland approached the victim who was sitting on a seat near the dance floor of The Bluestone nightclub at 1.43am on April 14, 2019.
The court heard he punched the victim in the jaw and kicked him twice to the face, causing the victim to hit his head on the brick wall behind the seat and become unconscious.
This sort of behaviour of a coward punch and kicking where the victim could suffer a brain injury or worse will not be toleratedMagistrate Leonard Brear
Delaland walked outside and talked to security guards before leaving the nightclub and the victim was taken to the Ballarat Base Hospital for treatment.
Ballarat police attended The Bluestone at 2am, spoke to security guards and collected CCTV footage.
Police then attended the Ballarat Base Hospital to take a statement from the victim.
Senior Constable Jones said police found Delaland at a friend's home in Delacombe at 3.30am and arrested him.
The court heard Delaland made full admissions and told police he had drunk 14 to 16 cans of mid strength beer at home from 3pm and had four to five full strength ciders at The Bluestone.
Delaland told police he believed the victim was spreading rumours he was a paedophile and was responsible for a number of pranks on his car.
Mr Madden submitted a significant fine was appropriate in meeting the principles of general and specific deterrence.
Mr Brear said he disagreed.
"In my view, apart from his age he would be facing an immediate term of imprisonment," he said.
"This sort of behaviour of a coward punch and kicking where the victim could suffer a brain injury or worse will not be tolerated."
Delaland was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order with a condition he complete 300 hours of community work and undergo supervision.
He was also excluded from attending any licensed premises between 6pm and 4am for six months.
Mr Madden told the court Delaland played football and this would exclude him from attending the rooms afterwards.
"All I can say is 'stiff'," Mr Brear responded.
"That is the consequence. It is a message that can be sent to those who play football and his mates too.
"It is very important for you to understand our community has a great concern, particularly about young people, who under the guise of alcohol and drugs commit violence against others; especially the coward punch where the person is caused to hit their head on a hard surface."
The court heard Delaland's actions at the Spilt Milk Festival held in Ballarat on November 30 2019 lead to the second charge of possessing drugs.
Senior Constable Jones said an anonymous male approached police at the festival and pointed out Delaland believing he had drugs.
Police watched Delaland sit leaning against a fence on his mobile phone, then walk to exchange an unknown item with a group.
Police approached Delaland and asked if he had anything he should not have in his possession.
The court heard Delaland pulled a zip lock bag containing five yellow capsules he said were MDMA from his shirt pocket.
During a pat down search, police found a further seven pills containing a white crystal substance believed to be MDMA and $1170 in cash.
Delaland told police he did not have identification on him, but during the search police found his licence.
On arrest, Delaland gave a no comment interview and he was bailed to appear at court.
Defence lawyer Andrew Madden provided a psychological report to the court.
On reading the report, magistrate Leonard Brear noted the report said Delaland did not have an issue with drug use after an interview with a psychologist on November 15, but 15 days later on November 30 he was found with drugs in 'suspicious' circumstances.
Mr Madden said he characterised Delaland's drug use as 'experimentation' at the music festival and he did not have a desire to regularly use drugs.
Mr Madden said Delaland had stable employment and was extremely remorseful.
"It appears if he had not been as alcohol-affected as he was he would not have engaged in this," he said.
Delaland was supported by his mother, grandmother and friends in court.
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