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"Despite his strong stature, he is still a very very young man," counsel Liam Collins said of his client, Cole Craig Milligan.
"In the last seven months ... his insight into his offending and offending-related factors has increased."
Before this he had not planned "further than the bottom of the bottle in his hands," but now Milligan had been actively planning for his release.
He specifically wished to re-establish relationships with his 2-year-old daughter and her mother.
He had also separated from the anti-social friend group he used to be a part of, which was seen as a step in the right direction by Judge Josephine Bouchier.
Milligan appeared for sentence on two assault and four driving charges dating from 2021.
The prison assault took place while he was remanded in custody for an earlier one-punch assault on April 19 that left a student with "serious bruising and swelling" and a cut to his head.
On September 29, court documents reveal Milligan had approached the victim in the prison yard.
After a brief exchange, he punched him "forcefully" at least 14 times to the face and head.
Once he had stopped punching, he kneed the man in the face before walking away.
The victim suffered a fractured left eye socket and significant bruising.
When spoken to police, Milligan admitted the assault but said he only took matters into his own hands after several failed attempts to get transferred to another unit.
He became nervous after hearing a rumour the victim was going to attack him and thought he would "take proactive action rather than be assaulted himself."
Judge Bouchier agreed with the probation officer who had observed that Milligan’s "impulse decision-making [had] overridden [ Milligan’s] ability to see consequences of his actions.
She said the "charges demonstrated an escalation in harm", but acknowledged he seemed to now understand the changes necessary to be successful in the community.
She sentenced Milligan to 20 months’ imprisonment and disqualified him from driving for one year and one day.