A Launceston man who attacked a tourist, causing several facial fractures and left him choking on his own blood, has been jailed.
Hayden James Morrison was sentenced in the Launceston Supreme Court on Monday for assaulting Rory Sain on August 14, 2016.
About 3am Mr Sain, 38, was alone and intoxicated on Cameron Street when he was punched in the mouth by Morrison.
“The blow was of such force as to break a number of his teeth and render him immediately unconscious,” Justice Robert Pearce said when sentencing Morrison.
Mr Sain’s head hit the footpath as he fell – where he would lie for an hour before being discovered.
“His mouth was covered in blood, his teeth were broken and his eyes were swollen,” Justice Pearce added.
“He was emitting sounds as if choking on blood.”
With grave injuries and a “severe traumatic brain injury”, Mr Sain was taken to the Launceston General Hospital and admitted to the neurosurgery unit in a deep coma, initially with a poor prognosis.
He was later transferred to the Royal Hobart Hospital Intensive Care Unit where he underwent neurosurgery to relieve pressure on his brain.
The court noted the gravity of Mr Sain’s condition “was such that loss of his life was an imminent prospect”.
In the Supreme Court Morrison, 22, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and receiving stolen property.
He was identified in CCTV and his DNA found on Mr Sain’s bank cards.
Morrison was jailed for three years and eight months.
He will be eligible for parole after serving half of the sentence.
Mr Sain, a maritime worker from New South Wales, was visiting Launceston for a reunion with friends at the time of the assault.
After the attack, he remained in the hospital for about four months before being discharged into the care of his parents and a rehabilitation physician.
While cognitive function has slowly returned, Mr Sain is left with permanent cognitive deficits.
“He will never fully return to the life he had,” Justice Pearce added.
“It is hoped that he will eventually be able to live independently and alone, but he is not yet able to do so and the future is uncertain.”
Justice Pearce said Mr Sain was a vulnerable person attacked “for no reason other than the infliction of senseless and random violence”.