A CESSNOCK man found not guilty of biting off half a man’s ear during a wild brawl at a Central Coast pub has been jailed for a maximum of two years for a host of other serious assault charges stemming from the out-of-control melee.
But Kane Darrell O’Meley, 27, walked from Newcastle courthouse on Friday after Judge Tanya Bright sentenced him to a non-parole period of one year and five months, less than the time he had already served.
O’Meley was on parole and serving a good behaviour bond at the time of the stoush – described by police as “20 minutes of madness” – at the Northlakes Tavern at Charmhaven on November 12 in 2016.
He fled north to the Top End, but was extradited and charged with a host of offences, including wound person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm for allegedly biting through the cartilage of Rhys Greig’s ear.
On the first day of a trial in Gosford District Court in August, O’Meley pleaded guilty to reckless wounding, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm – admitting to assaulting four men during the brawl – but maintained that he had not bitten off half of Mr Greig’s ear. And ultimately, after a three-day trial that focused on CCTV footage of the brawl in the beer garden of the pub, a jury found O’Meley not guilty of the biting.
Judge Bright said the trouble started with a ripped Kobe Bryant jersey.
O’Meley’s cousin, Nathan O’Meley, became involved in an argument with a man in the beer garden after he commented on his ripped singlet about 10.30pm.
From there the brawl erupted and O'Meley – who had consumed 20 standard drinks and cocaine in the eight hours before – quickly punched three men and was ejected by security. But he managed to get back into the beer garden and grabbed Mr Grieg, holding him down while one of his mates punched him several times.
When Mr Grieg finally emerged from the bottom of a pile he was holding his ear, which was bleeding profusely, and O’Meley punched him in the back of the head, Judge Bright said.
“These were senseless, unprovoked and violent acts,” Judge Bright said.
“A message must be sent not only to this offender but to other members of the community that the court will not tolerate such behaviour.”
Judge Bright backdated O’Meley’s jail term to when he went into custody in November, 2016, and sentenced him to serve a non-parole period of one-year and five months – more than five months less than he has already served – because she said she wanted him to serve a longer period on parole.
All the other men involved in the brawl avoided jail and were either sentenced to complete community service, were placed on good behaviour bonds or fined.
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