BLUE KNOB farmer Edward Gumbleton has been jailed for 12 months for his gay-hate crime after a cowardly and vicious bashing of an openly homosexual former police officer in Nimbin.
Gumbleton, 37, was found guilty of the crime following a defended court hearing in October where magistrate Nicholas Reimer found him guilty of assault causing bodily harm to Martin ‘Marc’ D’Aurizio, 47, at his home on February 1.
Sentencing Gumbleton yesterday in Byron Bay Local Court, Mr Reimer was scathing of the farmer’s unprovoked violence toward Mr D’Aurizio.
“It was a merciless, cowardly, beating-up,” Mr Reimer told him.
“Other people witnessed it and there was no response (defence by the victim). He just curled up in a foetal position and was getting the hiding of his life.
“This is a very serious matter. I heard the matter and I was absolutely appalled at your behaviour. Alcohol was involved and the victim was a homosexual who made it clear to all that he was.
“He left the hotel to go to his home and you sought him out. You gave him a serious beating because he was homosexual.”
Mr Reimer said there had to be deterrence in his sentencing.
“Whatever people’s sexual preferences it does not give anyone the right to subject them to corporal punishment. The message has got to get out.”
Mr Reimer sentenced Gumbleton to 18 months’ jail with a non-parole of 12 months.
Clad in a neat charcoal suit, tie, and pale pink shirt Gumbleton was taken into custody without comment.
Defence lawyer John Weller had earlier told the court it was very pleasing that his client was now taking responsibility for his violent actions and been assessed as having a low risk of reoffending. He said Gumbleton has been counselled for anger management. He had two previous assault matters on his police record.
Mr Weller said it was fortunate the farmer had not been charged with grievous bodily harm as a result of his serious assault.
At the previous court hearing Gumbleton, after arguing with his victim at a Nimbin hotel that night then drove to Mr D’Aurizio’s home where he continually kicked and punched him.
A Severity Appeal will be heard in Lismore in the New Year.