Boxer jailed for vicious one-punch attack
ONE punch that left his victim unconscious and convulsing on a Toowoomba footpath was enough to land troubled boxer Damien Hooper with another jail term.
In sentencing the 23-year-old to four months in jail, Magistrate Damian Carroll reminded everyone in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court of the "One Punch Can Kill" campaign.
"Just last night we saw (on television news) how an 18-year-old man had died after being punched in Brisbane's CBD," Mr Carroll said.
Hooper's victim had been in the yard of his Newtown home about 2pm, June 13, last year, when he heard the boxer and his pregnant de facto partner arguing in the street, the court heard.
Due to the heightened public awareness of domestic violence, the complainant man went to the woman's aid, police prosecutor Natalie Bugden told the court.
The woman had been trying to stop Hooper from driving away in her car and as the couple argued, the victim approached trying to calm the situation.
Hooper then got out of the driver's seat of the sedan, telling the approaching man, "Don't f***ing touch me, man" before punching him once to the right side of his face.
Hooper drove off but another neighbour who had witnessed the assault came out to find the victim man on the ground unconscious and convulsing and called to Hooper's partner to call an ambulance.
The victim was taken to hospital where he was treated for swelling to his lower jaw, cuts to his inner mouth, bruising to his cheek and a stiff neck, Senior Constable Bugden said.
Hooper appeared in custody to plead guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm and to breaching a domestic violence order relating to his partner.
At the time of the incident, Hooper had been on parole for a previous assault and had spent the ensuing six months in custody since his return to prison on June 19 last year, the court heard.
His full-time release from jail on the previous sentence was February 17, his barrister Wayne Tolton told the court.
Mr Tolton said the time his client had spent in custody had come at a great cost to his promising professional boxing career and he had also missed the birth of his son.
Hooper's partner was in court supporting him with their baby child.
Mr Tolton said his client had overcome drug and alcohol abuse which began when he was just eight years old to become an Olympian.
Upon his release from prison his client intended returning to Toowoomba to support his partner and their child, he said.
His client had written an extensive letter of apology to the victim expressing his regret for the situation, he said.
While in custody, Hooper had been working as a cleaner and had been on a committee of mentors who guided younger Aboriginal prisoners, Mr Tolton told the court.
Mr Carroll sentenced Hooper to four months jail, to be served on conclusion of his current sentence, but ordered he be eligible to apply for release on parole as of February 17.