Man jailed for king-hit attack in Victoria

county court vic

A man has been jailed for punching a Victorian grandfather in an unprovoked attack, which left him with a traumatic, life-changing brain injury.

Leonard Betrayhani, 39, king-hit Steve Morrow as he was looking the other way outside the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse in Apollo Bay on the evening of August 6, 2016, following a minor scuffle inside.

Mr Morrow, then aged 66, was knocked unconscious, fell to the ground and needed part of his skull removed when he was later airlifted to hospital, with his injuries nearly proving fatal.

Betrayhani was jailed for four years in the County Court on Thursday, after a jury found him guilty of one charge of recklessly causing serious injury.

His victim suffers memory loss, can no longer continue his work as a leather craftsman, has separated from his partner of a decade and is now cared for by one of his sons.

"At times he cries in distress for extensive periods and is no longer emotionally connected with his own children or grandchildren, whereas before your assault on him, he was a very important person in their lives," Judge Frances Hogan said.

"He has been profoundly diminished as a human being. Every day is the same, he has lost great pleasure, he is a ghost of his former self and his long-term future is bleak."

Mr Morrow was attending a music event at the venue with his family, when he was knocked as Betrayhani pushed another member of the crowd.

CCTV shows Mr Morrow beckoning the defendant outside, which Judge Hogan said was his attempt to be a "peacemaker" and not evidence he was encouraging a retaliatory attack.

When Mr Morrow went and stood on the pavement a while later, Betrayhani rushed towards him in a "hyped-up state" and issued the devastating punch.

"It was a cowardly, king-hit which gave him no time to protect himself," Judge Hogan said.

Four men later set upon Betrayhani, an attack which left him with a serious eye injury and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the court heard.

"Your injuries, while not legally justified, pale beside the dire plight of your victim Mr Morrow," Judge Hogan said.

"Indeed in the first few days after your assault upon Mr Morrow, it appeared as though his injuries may be fatal."

Judge Hogan said Betrayhani showed no remorse and offered no explanation for his "thuggish conduct".

He must serve three years before he is eligible for parole.

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