Bridport basher not jailed

A MAGISTRATE has spared a 20-year-old Launceston man who went on a violent rampage with his brother at Bridport.

Rick Keith Gesler was charged with eight counts of assault and pleaded guilty.

Three of the assaults – also involving a number of other men – related to a random attack on several strangers at the Bridport Hotel in January.

CCTV captured the incident – and its distressing nature forced another magistrate to close the court when it was shown earlier this year.

Magistrate Duncan Fairley called the crimes “base street thuggery” and said it was “simply luck” that no one at the hotel suffered serious injury.

But he opted not to jail Gesler due to his age and likelihood of rehabilitation.

“You need to treat this as your one opportunity to reform,” Mr Fairley told Gesler.

“The consequences could have been tragic. I have watched the CCTV footage of the Bridport incident… You persisted in your attacks.

“This type of dangerous and disgraceful behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Gesler, who was drunk at the time of the incident, was sentenced to seven months’ prison, but it was wholly suspended for two years.

None of his victims suffered long-term injury, and Mr Fairley concluded he had been led astray by his brother.

Mr Fairley acknowledged that Gesler was expecting his first child and that he had curbed his alcohol consumption.

He also blamed, in part, Gesler’s childhood, which saw him exposed to family violence.

Gesler will also complete 63 hours’ community service, having spent a week in jail after being arrested for the incident.

Mr Fairley ordered Gesler undergo government treatment programs to assist him with his issues.

Mr Fairley has shown little tolerance for drunken violence since moving to Launceston.

Earlier this month he handed a 21-year-old man a suspended jail term for similar crimes.

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