Date set for contest

A YOUNG Mildura man, accused of breaking another man’s jaw leaving him bloodied and unresponsive at a party, will contest the charge.

Jhy Berry was charged with recklessly causing serious injury to a victim at an Irymple home in the early hours of September 29, last year.

He yesterday dismissed a sentence indication given by Magistrate Andrew McKenna of four months in jail followed by a 12-month community corrections order, with the matter now scheduled for a contested hearing.

Mildura police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Matt Pardon told the Mildura Magistrates’ Court yesterday the victim and Berry were known to each other and both attended the same gathering on the night of the alleged offence.

He said about 1.30am a group of people were in one of the bedrooms when Berry entered and picked up a thong, before “aggressively” slapping the victim in the face with it. 

The pair became involved in a tussle, which saw them fall into the walk-in wardrobe, fighting on the floor, before the home owner put the victim into a headlock to separate them, the court was told. 

Berry and the victim then exchanged apologies and shook hands, saying they had both overreacted.

Sen-Constable Pardon said Berry then went to the backyard before the victim came stumbling into the home from the backyard, covered in blood with cuts and lacerations, but couldn’t remember what had happened.

The home owner went outside to speak with Berry and when he returned inside, the victim was unresponsive on the floor. 

The court was told the victim was taken to Mildura Base Hospital and five days later taken to Adelaide for surgery to repair a broken jaw. 

He had two plates inserted into his mouth along with numerous screws.

In a police interview, Berry said he acted in self-defence and had no further comment.

However, he said he was “disheartened” the victim ended up with such an injury, but did not admit to the offending.

His defence counsel said injuries could easily be sustained, and said his client was of good character and still young.

He said Berry was still engaged in full-time work and continued to play seniors for the Nangiloc football club.

He also told the court Berry had started seeing a counsellor to deal with his “problematic relationship with alcohol”.

Mr McKenna said it was an offence that tended to be committed by young offenders where alcohol was typically involved and, as such, a strong general deterrence was needed.

The matter will go to a two-day contested hearing on October 24 and 25.

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