A man has been warned he could go to jail after he was convicted of delivering a coward’s punch outside a Hillarys pub that left his victim with life-changing injuries.
Andre Kevin Smith’s family lashed out from the public gallery after a jury found him guilty of attacking Paul Mitchell, with yells of “you’re putting away an innocent man”.
Smith spent the past eight days on trial in the District Court fighting allegations he punched Mr Mitchell, 30, after a melee broke out outside the Northshore Tavern in July 2017.
But after deliberating for less than two hours, the jury found him guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The jury decided Smith delivered the blow even after hearing his brother Kyle Smith testify that he was the one responsible.
It also rejected evidence from Kyle Smith’s partner Michelle Woods, who implicated the brother in the attack.
During the trial, the court was told Mr Mitchell was at the venue with his former Whitford Warriors football club teammates after a game when a brawl erupted outside.
During the melee, Mr Mitchell became the victim of an unprovoked punch to the face, which caused him to fall backwards, with witnesses hearing his head “cracking” on the concrete.
He was left with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, and woke up in hospital with no memory of the attack, but unable to talk, feel half of his face, or hear out of one ear.
Giving evidence, Mr Mitchell said he had recovered from his partial paralysis, but said he needed a hearing aid for his right ear, had issues with balance, and said his memory was getting worse as time progressed.
After the verdict, there were heated scenes in the court, prompting warnings from security, with Smith’s family sobbing loudly and consoling each other, while Smith shook his head.
Prosecutor Alan Dungey said the State would argue Smith should receive an immediate term of imprisonment.
Judge Andrew Stavrianou granted Smith bail ahead of his sentencing on August 30, but warned: “That does not mean on the next occasion you won’t receive an immediate term of imprisonment”.
A pre-sentence report will be prepared.