Four years' jail for GBH

A Dunedin teen sent to prison for a brutal assault was warned to stop his violent behaviour or risk his child growing up to see him behind bars.

Phillip Joseph (19) acknowledged supporters in the public gallery after being sentenced to four years' imprisonment by Judge Michael Crosbie in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

On Sunday, April 27, two intoxicated people were walking in the Octagon, yelling at passing cars and pedestrians, when Joseph - who had earlier been at a family dinner - took exception to their behaviour.

He called out to one of the men before punching him in the face, and then traded blows with the other. Joseph then returned to the car parked in the upper Octagon, followed by the second victim.

As one of the vehicle occupants tried to persuade the second victim to leave the scene, Joseph left the car, carrying a full stubbie beer bottle, and from a distance of 2m, hurled it into the face of the victim.

Joseph and his party then fled. The victim, who remained conscious, was taken to the police station but began to pass out and vomit blood.

He suffered a depressed fracture of the skull, with fractures extending to the eye sockets, and was discharged from Dunedin Hospital the following month.

Judge Crosbie said the assault had deeply affected the victim, who still required ongoing treatment for his injuries.

Despite Joseph's young age, it was also important to protect the community from a violent offender.

He noted that Joseph had already been involved in an incident while a remand prisoner and was at risk of reoffending. His behaviour needed to improve or he faced a future behind bars.

Joseph had been exposed to gangs, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and was ''so used to it that it is part of your everyday life''.

He wanted to be a good partner and parent and was told by Judge Crosbie to change so ''your own child does not grow up to know you behind bars''.

He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm, nine months for assaulting a female, six months for assault and a month for breaching community work, the terms to be served concurrently.

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