No conviction for bully basher

AN IPSWICH man who punched a teenage boy he saw bullying a girl with a serious disability has faced court.

Jessi Paul Russell, 21, saw the girl getting off a bus in Ipswich and a 14-year-old boy grabbing her by her backpack and swinging her around. The girl, who has spina bifida, fell in a heap on the ground and the boy walked away.

Spina bifida is a serious birth abnormality in which the spinal cord is malformed, and lacks its usual protective coverings.

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard as the girl lay on the ground, Russell went up to her to see how she was, and decided to follow the boy who had hurt her.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Brad Dick said Russell walked up behind the boy and punched him a couple of times in the head. The boy fell to the ground and Russell punched him a couple more times.

The victim reported minor grazing and bruises to his forehead.

The court heard Russell and the girl were neighbours, and after the assault Russell went to her home to see how she was.

Defence lawyer Erin Beer told the court Russell had known the girl was unable to defend herself.

"It wasn't a random act of violence," Ms Beer said.

"He is aware of the serious offence of striking a person in the face twice, but there are significant contextual factors."

Russell pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said she could understand why Russell did what he did.

"I note that clearly there are two sides to every story, and you were acting in defence of a person with a serious medical condition," Ms MacCallum said. "But to involve yourself is never wise."

Russell was sentenced to 12 months probation with no conviction recorded.

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