Maryborough Court House.Photo: Valerie Horton/ Fraser Coast Chronicle.
Maryborough Court House.Photo: Valerie Horton/ Fraser Coast Chronicle. Valerie Horton

Soccer star breaks granddad's leg in drunken argument

A TEEN who broke his grandfather's leg in a drunken argument has used his soccer skills as a defence in court.

Maryborough District Court on Thursday heard Ethan Skerritt had a fight with his girlfriend and called his grandmother at 3am and asked to be picked up.

Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said when the 18-year-old got back to his grandparents' house, he tried to take the car keys to go see his friends.

Mr Stark said the argument turned physical when Skerritt pushed his 72-year-old grandfather, causing him to lose balance and fall into the kitchen bench.

"He hit his head and fell to floor and he broke his leg which was treated with surgery," Mr Stark said.

Skerritt's grandmother was present in court and wrote a letter of support for her grandson, begging for him to be spared from jail.

Skerritt's defence lawyer said her client was remorseful for his behaviour and wanted to apologise to his grandparents for his actions.

"He describes his grandparents as his mother and father because they have raised him since the age of 13 and have always been part of his life," she said.

"He only met his father when he was about 14 or 15, and when he did meet him, he quickly discovered his father was involved in the drug scene.

"His mother kicked him out of the family home at about 13 due to relationship issues between them and also between Mr Skerritt and her partner at the time."

The court was presented with two letters, acting as character witnesses, outlining Skerritt's talent for soccer and dedication to his team.

Skerritt has played soccer for about 12 years and was due to attend Rockhampton last weekend, the court heard.

His bail conditions stopped him from attending.

Judge Deborah Richards acknowledged Skerritt's young age and remorse for hurting his grandfather.

She said being drunk was not an excuse for his "extremely poor behaviour".

"Generally, if you commit an offence like this where there is a permanent injury, there is a term of imprisonment imposed," Judge Richards said.

"But I'm very mindful of the fact this happened about a month after your 18th birthday.

"About a month earlier, or even six weeks earlier, you would have been a child and we wouldn't have even been thinking about sending you to jail.

"You were immediately remorseful, telling police you were disgusted with your behaviour and seemed genuinely concerned for your grandfather.

"They see a real change in you and that you are really trying to turn your life around."

Skerritt escaped a conviction, but was sentenced to three years' probation.



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