An act of chivalry has ended with two beatings and a night in hospital for one newcomer to Yass, the local court heard on June 18.
Gemma Bell, 26, and her brother Scott Brett Bell 31, both of Yass, pleaded not guilty to charges of affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Police told the court they were called to an incident at 3.42am on January 15 involving an assault in the main street. A man reported being assaulted twice in the one night.
The slightly-built victim told the court hearing he was temporarily living in Yass and did not know many people, as he rarely went out because he worked 12-hour days. However on the night in question, he had been drinking at a local pub when he witnessed a fight break out on the dance floor. He had intervened when he saw a man about to strike a woman, saying ‘you don’t hit women, mate’ but was hit in the face by another man and knocked to the ground.
He walked to Yass Hospital and received stitches for a gash in his forehead.
Walking back from hospital he had met up with two female acquaintances who were walking the same direction. A third woman, now known as Gemma Bell, approached him and warned ‘don’t be a smart-arse’.
“She started coming at me, I put my hands up and … [was] knocked to the ground.”
He told the court Ms Bell king-hit him in the jaw, “crash-tackled” him to the ground, and continued to beat him while she was on top of him.
As he had pushed her off she had told him “my brother’s gonna teach you a lesson” and he had then fended off a man, now known to be Scott Bell, who had grabbed at him.
“I bolted for my life,” he told the court. The commotion had attracted a small audience of onlookers who had jeered at him as he ran way.
Once home he had called his brother-in-law in a distressed state and then called police.
He was admitted to hospital overnight to treat his injuries, which included a broken heel, ligament damage to his knee and extensive bruising to various parts of his body.
The two women who were with the victim at the time of the assault gave evidence in court they saw Scott Bell punch the victim several times during the incident.
Scott Bell told the court “I strongly disagree that I dragged him out onto the road and hit him”. He said he was not involved in the assault.
Gemma Bell told the court she had an encounter with the victim, who she said had “stood over” her, unprovoked, in an intimidating fashion as he walked past her on the street, and insulted her. She had pushed him away in self defence because she was scared. She said her brother had not touched him and she had not punched him at all.
Magistrate Doug Dick said “it’s impossible to say who did what and when”.
However, this behaviour was unacceptable.
“This sort of behaviour is never appropriate – there is too much violence in the streets.”
He convicted Gemma Bell of affray and placed her on a two-year good behaviour bond. The assault charge was withdrawn with a finding of not guilty, as were both charges against Scott Bell.
Another man, Luke Michael Donnelly, 25, of Yass, has been previously sentenced to seven months suspended prison for the victim’s first assault on the dance floor.