A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a serious assault upon two men in a caravan park.
A Northern NSW man has been sentenced for a serious assault upon two men in a caravan park.

‘Serious escalation’ as father, son assaulted with iron bar

A NORTHERN NSW man who assaulted a father and son with an iron bar will be behind bars until next year.

Braiden Isaac Ward, 29, from Halfway Creek, represented himself when he faced Byron Bay Local Court for sentencing on Tuesday.

Ward was, in July, convicted in his absence of two charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault after he failed to appear in court twice.

He has been in custody since October 6, when he was arrested on a warrant.

Ward and co-offender Allan Fry had been charged over a March 30 incident during which they entered Belongil Fields Caravan Park in Byron Bay without permission on the afternoon of March 30 this year.

When Ward and Fry refused to leave when confronted by staff, a dispute unfolded.

The pair assaulted park manager David Rowley and his son, Alex, who also worked there.

Ward disputed details put forward by police denying he struck anyone with a steel bar.

The court heard he was serving community corrections orders at the time of the incident.

Ms Stafford acknowledged his dispute of the police facts but said the details before the court had convinced her Ward armed himself with an iron bar and struck glancing blows, then several hits to the torso, upon Alex Rowley.

She found he also struck David Rowley with the bar.

The assault upon Alex involved Ward spitting at him, something Ms Stafford said would have instilled great distress because if occurred just as "the ramifications" of COVID-19 "were sinking in".

The court heard a sentencing assessment report found the incident marked a "serious escalation in severity" of Ward's criminal behaviour.

When challenged by the author of that report, he "remained adamant" he was "not of a violent nature" and had a propensity to identify himself as the victim, the court heard.

Fry was earlier sentenced to three months' prison for common assault.

Ward asked the court for a comparable sentence but Magistrate Karen Stafford said his offences were more serious because of the injuries inflicted.

Ward received a 12 month prison term and he will be eligible for parole in April.


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