Heathe Zegiel photographed by a journalist in 2019.
Heathe Zegiel photographed by a journalist in 2019.

Recovered ice addict leaves mate with broken eye socket

A FORMER ice addict who claimed to have turned his life around has found himself back before a magistrate after he brutally assaulted his friend in a drunk rampage.

Heathe Kenneth Zegiel pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court on Friday to one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.

The court was told Zegiel was once an ice addict, however had successfully rehabilitated.

But the court was told the 34-year-old "relapsed" with alcohol when he assaulted a friend in an "unprovoked" attack at the victim's home on June 18, 2019.

Zegiel was living with the victim at the time.

The court was told Zegiel was drunk when he woke the victim and began yelling abuse.

The victim told Zegiel to stop but instead Zegiel punched the man in the face and head several times.

The fight continued outside where neighbours reported the disturbance to police.

The court was told the victim suffered swelling to his body and a fractured eye socket.

Defence lawyer Jun Pepito said his client had suffered the loss of his partner as a result of his former ice addiction. In court Mr Pepito tendered a Sunshine Coast Daily news article from 2019 about Zegiel's recovery from addiction.

In the article, Zegiel said he first turned to ice when epileptic seizures caused him physical injuries, which meant he could no longer work.

"That's why I turned to a drug that dulled, or blanketed, the pain," he said.

In the article Zegiel said he wanted to advise people thinking about turning to drugs, to "sit down and have a hard think about what they wanted in life".

Magistrate Dennis Kinsella said although drugs were not involved in the offending, Zegiel's intoxication was a different type of "relapse".

"The offending arose due to (your) issues or dependence on alcohol. But intoxication is not a defence."

Zegiel was sentenced to nine months jail with immediate parole.

A conviction was recorded.


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