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Tennant man jailed for hammer attack on cousin

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A 32-year-old Tennant Creek man has been sentenced to five years prison in the Darwin Supreme Court last Friday after he hit his cousin in the head with a hammer after a alcohol-fuelled day last December.

Gavel

A jury found George May guilty of stealing a mobile phone and unlawfully causing serious harm to a victim on 31 May.

Last December May started drinking at lunchtime with a number of people and his cousin.

His victim was his cousin who he had grown up with and attended school with in Tennant Creek. They also lived in the same unit complex.

Later that evening after everyone was intoxicated, they attended a party where May caused offence to the host by the way he was engaging with women at the party.

They left the party and returned to the victim’s unit, where a fight ensued outside between May and another friend over a box of loose beers brought back from the party.

The fight escalated into a tug-of-war causing a number of bottles to fall from the carton and break outside of the victims unit.

Matters settled down and the drinking resumed.

Sometime during the night, a friend’s phone was missing and when it was called, the ringing could be heard from May’s pocket.

May returned the phone, however sometime later he stole it again.

A voicemail on the phone about 1.30am was a male voice calling May a thief.

An argument started in the unit and May was dragged outside.

Sometime after, May burst through the door of his cousin’s unit and hit him in the forehead with a hammer, causing a depressed skull fracture.

Chief Justice Michael Grant said May’s lack of remorse was apparent.

“This matter ran to trial and that was, of course, your right and entitlement,” he said. “However, one consequence of that is you are not entitled to any discount on your sentence for your plea of guilty or because you are remorseful.

“In fact, I consider that you have demonstrated an absolute lack of remorse.

“That lack of remorse is apparent, amongst other things, from the pre-sentence report, where you still claim that on the night people were attacking you and anything you did was borne out of a need for you to defend yourself.

“While I have no doubt that you were attacked, both verbally and physically, by your friend earlier in the night, you were in no way subject to any physical threat at the time you hit the victim in the head with a hammer, and it was only you and victim present at that time.

“You also continued to allege that you were stabbed during the course of that process, despite the fact that you suffered absolutely no injury consistent with that assertion.

“The penalty that I impose on you today, Mr May, must also punish you in a just manner for what you have done to the victim, having regard to both the objective circumstances of this offending and your subjective circumstances which I have detailed.

“That punishment will reflect the community’s disapproval of this sort of drunken violent conduct.”

May was sentenced to five years prison, backdated to 13 December and four months to be served concurrently for stealing the mobile phone.

He was issued a non-parole period of two years and six months.

Tennant & District Times 24 September 2021

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 24 September 2021.

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