Leigh Russo (left) with girlfriend Catherine Armao and defence lawyer Geoff Donaghy leaving the Lismore Courthouse.
Leigh Russo (left) with girlfriend Catherine Armao and defence lawyer Geoff Donaghy leaving the Lismore Courthouse. David Nielsen

Chef uses sauce jar in assault

A LEGGO’S glass pasta sauce jar hurled by Leigh Russo felled his flatmate David Young, leaving him with a bloodied scalp wound.

The friendship between the former Lismore flatmates ended that night in arguments over noise, an unwashed pan and the assault with a jar.

Following a defended hearing in the Lismore Local Court, Russo, 25, a chef, was found guilty by Magistrate Nicholas Reimer of recklessly wounding Mr Young, 29, on May 1 last year at the Lismore home the former friends shared.

Witness Tony Jones said he saw his friend drop like ‘a proverbial sack of potatoes’ after being struck on the head by the glass jar. He also saw a lot of blood on his head.

In reply to an assertion by defence lawyer Geoff Donaghy that he did not see Russo throw the jar, Mr Jones said: “I seen him throw the friggin jar ... excuse my language.”

Asked by Mr Donaghy if he threw the jar, Russo replied absolutely not, but he admitted to being ‘a bit intoxicated’.

“We’ve been mates for seven years. Why did it have to come to this?” Russo said.

“Was he (Mr Young) injured when he left?” asked MrDonaghy.

“Not that I could see,” replied Russo.

In his evidence, Mr Young said when he went back to the home with Mr Jones to get his gear and move out he found his belongings outside, dumped on the road.

He said Russo and girlfriend Catherine Armao were in the backyard drinking and began ‘ranting at us’, with Russo becoming aggressive.

“I grabbed a drink of water. I use empty pasta sauce jars as cups,” Mr Young said.

“I put the glass jar down. I said I’ll get my stuff, let’s go when Leigh (Russo) followed me. I felt a thud of the jar hitting me to the side of my head. I didn’t see it coming at me. It hit me very hard. I was on the ground dazed.”

During cross-examination, Mr Donaghy asked Mr Young if he had threatened his client.

“I never laid a finger on him. I never touched him,” Mr Young said.

“You made it up, it (the assault) never happened,” Mr Donaghy said.

“That’s ridiculous,” Mr Young replied.

Russo also denied police prosecutor Sgt Anna Comer’s allegation that he cleaned up Mr Young’s blood and threw out the Leggo’s jar.

Ms Armao, in her evidence, said there had been no assault and the pair became scared when Mr Young left so they locked themselves inside their home.

She said Mr Young was ‘a little messy’ as a flatmate.

“He’s a nice person and I still miss him. I still love David. This is a big mistake,” she said.

Magistrate Reimer said he was satisfied the assault took place and described the evidence from Russo and MsArmao as ‘unbelievable’.

“Most of it was made up,” Mr Reimer said.

Russo pleaded guilty to anunrelated assault of Ms Armao on June 3 last year. Russo will be sentenced on February 19.



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