Man faces court after bite attack

A MAN who knew he was hepatitis C positive when he bit another man's ear off in Howard earlier this year has faced court.

Byron Lee Willoughby is charged with assaults occasioning bodily harm in company.

The 34-year-old was visiting from Victoria with his boyfriend when a night at a friend's house turned ugly.

The court heard Willoughby and his friends invited a man, who was known to them, over for drinks with the intention of punishing him for providing police with sensitive information.

When the complainant arrived at the home about 10.30pm he was kicked and punched up to 30 times by members of the group.

He took blows to all parts of his body before Willoughby placed him in a headlock and bit off a large section of his right ear.

Eventually the complainant got away and ran to a safe place before calling for help. Later that night police arrested Willoughby and he has been in custody since.

Police prosecutor Craig Ryan said Willoughby had a long history of serious violence.

He said he had previously served a three-month intensive correction order for one offence and four months' imprisonment for threatening to kill.

He also said there had been “no substantial break” in Willoughby's pattern of violent offending since the early '90s.

He asked Magistrate Graeme Tatnell to impose a period of imprisonment of three to four years.

But Mr Tatnell said given the defendant's history and the aggravating circumstance – being the defendant's knowledge he was infected – Willoughby should be punished in a higher court.

He said the maximum penalty for Willoughby's offence was 10 years and that he expected that a Judge who took into a consideration all the circumstances would likely impose a penalty that fell within the higher end of the scale.

He referred to a section of the code which outlined that a magistrate “must abstain” from dealing with an offender if they are satisfied, at any point of the case, that due to the serious nature of the details they would not be able to impose an adequate penalty.

When he realised his case had been adjourned Willoughby shook his head and said “that's f******* bull s*** mate”.

He is expected to be sentenced in the next sittings of the Hervey Bay District Court which starts on December 6.

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