Man thought assault victim was dealing drugs in carpark
A court has heard a man who lashed out at a Mercedes driver in Byron Bay believed his victim was selling the drug ice.
Defence solicitor Philip Crick told Byron Bay Local Court on Monday his client, 33-year-old Michael Alexander Whitcroft, was upset by what he perceived to be a drug deal in the town which he felt “protective” of.
Whitcroft, who was living an itinerant lifestyle and had lived in the Brunswick Heads and Broadbeach areas in recent years, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and destroying or damaging property over the September 23, 2017 incident in Byron Bay.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to appear before court.
According to court documents, the victim parked his Mercedes at the Main Beach carpark and was seen speaking to another person before Whitcroft approached him and began “verbally abusing him”.
The victim tried to retreat into the vehicle but Whitcroft struck the windscreen, cracking the glass.
The pair then engaged in a physical fight and both fell to the ground.
Whitcroft also pleaded guilty to common assault over an incident where he punched his mum’s ex-partner in Byron in April, 2019.
In court on Monday, Mr Crick said Whitcroft claimed to have “turned a corner in his life recently”.
“He admits there was a drinking issue in his past,” Mr Crick said.
The court heard the allegations had such a lengthy history because Whitcroft had other court matters in Queensland.
Mr Crick said his client attended a NSW police station after being released on parole in Queensland and had spent five days in custody since then.
Of the 2017 incident, Mr Crick said his client felt “somewhat protective of the town” and believed a drug deal was unfolding.
“He believed the victim was selling ice from the carpark there and that’s what started the altercation,” Mr Crick said.
Magistrate Karen Stafford said Whitcroft had a “very bad history of offences of violence in Queensland”, although most were committed a long time ago.
“I accept that there has been some rehabilitation that has been closely monitored in Queensland,” Ms Stafford said.
She imposed two year community corrections orders and fined Whitcroft $1000.