A man who was repeatedly struck on the head with a wooden bat, causing blood to pour down his face, before he was allegedly imprisoned, tortured and raped has attended the sentence of one of his attackers.
The victim joined a video link to the County Court of Victoria on Thursday to see Bradley John Cassells admit his role in the bashing which occurred on October 9, 2018.
Cassells used a wooden table leg or bat to hit the victim about six times on the forehead, causing blood to drip down his face, in a vehicle parked outside a Black Hill house.
After fearing neighbours would hear the assault, Cassells joined his two co-accused, Tina Cations and Patrick Meizys, in taking the victim inside the Edwardes Street house.
The victim was then told to sit on a chair at the kitchen table.
Cassells left the address before the victim was allegedly further assaulted, tortured, injected with a drug and raped with a wooden axe handle.
The ordeal occurred after the victim was allegedly invited to Cations' house in relation to a drug deal and he was questioned on the location of a USB device, which contained a file.
Police located Cassells two months after the incident camping with his wife and four children at Lake Burrumbeet. He told police he knew of the victim and had heard about the incident, but he denied his involvement in it.
In a statement which referred to the alleged assault, torture and rape, the victim said his life changed two years ago.
"Two years ago my life took a dramatic and traumatic turn that no human should endure," the victim said.
He said before the cruel and sickening attack, he was in a stable relationship and had a newborn child but he now had lost his dignity and felt so alone.
He said he had to move away from Ballarat and set up security at his house, he lost his car and he had quit numerous jobs.
The victim's partner said in her statement her life had been an emotional roller coaster and mentally challenging for her since the incident.
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"It makes me sad our daughter is missing out on the best version of her dad," the victim's partner said.
At the time of the incident, Cassells was using cannabis and methamphetamine on a daily basis and his wife was ready to tell him to pack his bag and leave.
"It's very fortunate you realise you now have to change the way you are living. One way to lose a wife and children is to continue using ice," Judge Liz Gaynor told Cassells.
The judge said Cassells' involvement in the incident was limited compared to his two co-accused but she told him his offending was serious and he should be ashamed of himself.
"I am satisfied the term you have already served is a sufficient response to the offending on this occasion. I take into account you have pleaded guilty. I accept you have used your time in custody well," Judge Gaynor said.
"You have been subject to lock-down conditions arising from COVID-19. I accept you have a good strong supportive family upon your release.
If you return to your drug use, undoubtedly Mr Cassells, this court will see you again.Judge Liz Gaynor
"If you return to your drug use, undoubtedly Mr Cassells, this court will see you again."
After Cassells was sentenced to 610 days in prison, declared as time already served by way of pre-sentence detention, he apologised to the victim and the victim's partner.
"I am sorry for all of the pain and suffering," Cassells said.
Judge Gaynor acknowledged the crime on the victims, saying they had suffered enormously.
Cassells would have been sentenced to three-and-a-half-years' imprisonment with a minimum of two-and-a-half-years if he did not plead guilty, according to the judge.
Cassells, who is on a disability support pension, pleaded guilty to intentionally causing injury and false imprisonment.
His two co-accused Tina Cations, 34, who is on bail and Patrick Meizys, 24, who is on remand, are awaiting to stand trial in the County Court.
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