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Attacker walks free

Thursday, 20th March, 2014

A man sentenced to at least eight months behind bars for an unprovoked attack on another man last year has avoided jail after his appeal was upheld in the District Court yesterday.

His 60-year-old victim was walking along Oxide Street in October when David Matthew Pope came from behind, knocked him to the ground and started kicking him repeatedly.

The bewildered man, who was a stranger to Pope, kept asking him why he was being attacked and pleaded with him to stop.

Pope pleaded guilty to the assault and in January was sentenced in the Local Court to 15 months’ jail with a non-parole period of eight months.

He appealed against the severity of the sentence and yesterday appeared in the local sittings of the District Court where his lawyer Rebecca Mitchell told the court that Pope had not drank alcohol since the attack and had greatly reduced his use of cannabis.

She said he would also be willing to attend a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Mildura if he was spared a jail sentence.

At his sentencing in January the Local Court heard Pope had also undertaken a traineeship which had led to full-time work and he was helping to look after his sick father.

Yesterday Justice Anthony Blackmore upheld the appeal despite describing Pope’s attack on the unsuspecting older man as “completely over the top”.

He warned Pope that it was time he dealt with his “long-term problem” and that if he failed to complete the program he would find himself in jail.

“So, Mr Pope, it’s all in your hands,” said the judge.

“Are you willing to comply with these conditions?”

Pope, who has been on bail pending the outcome of the appeal, answered: “Yes your honour.”

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