Brisbane Supreme District Court
Brisbane Supreme District Court Rae Wilson

Boxer gets 9 years for "punching bag" killing in Gatton pub

A SUPREME Court justice told an amateur boxer he treated the man he killed in a Gatton bar like he was "a punching bag" as he sentenced him to 9.5 years in jail.

Justice Peter Applegarth said Christopher James Earel*, 28 although there had been a heated verbal exchange before he threw a punch, nothing could have justified his response.

Earel, who was convicted of manslaughter of Laurence Black, 46, after a trial, has already served 845 days behind bars.

"To describe what happened that night as a fight is misnomer," Justice Applegarth said.

"There was only one combatant, you.

"Mr Black was not a fighter and he did not try to retaliate.

"This was not a fight between roughly matched opponents bound by rules, wearing gloves, with a referee to intervene.

"He was no physical match for you."

Justice Applegarth said there were 25 bruises on Mr Black's body and he accepted about 15 were from direct blows at the Imperial Hotel on October 29, 2011.

He said some bruising was defensive as he tried to shield himself from the upper cuts Earel was "callously directing towards his head".

"The heavy blows that you delivered to his body and head were delivered so fast and furiously that no one could say for sure how many landed," he said.

"Death was rapid.

"It seems likely the fatal blow was landed before he hit the ground.

"Not content with having knocked out Mr Black you proceeded to kick a defenceless man on the ground.

"You kicked him at least twice and you also stomped on his chest at least once.

"It's possible one of the kicks in the direction of his head caused a fatal injury.

"Your actions of kicking and stomping on an unconscious man after beating him into unconsciousness puts this in a more serious category than where one punch was thrown."

Justice Applegarth said this was not a case of excessive self-defence and told Earel he should have walked away.

"The courts and the public know that single punch can kill," he said.

"We've seen too many of those tragic cases.

"Likewise a number of punches delivered to the head of a victim in a bar can kill.

"They may kill when someone hits their head on the floor or on the bar or on some other hard object.

"Bar room violence can kill.

"You could have walked away."

*Christopher James Earel had been referred to throughout the trial as Earl due to on order by Justice Applegarth. In previous stories he has been referred to as Earl.

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