Guilty finding over parent, student fight

THE bullying of a man's children on a bus led him to wrestle a youth in the grounds of Deloraine High School, a court has heard.

Joseph John Stewart, 37, of Western Creek, was found guilty in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday of common assault.

Defence solicitor Fran McCracken, in her plea in mitigation, told the court that there had been issues between Stewart's family and the family of the youth, leading up to the confrontation.

The complainant, a youth, cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Mrs McCracken said that, on her instructions, it started because Stewart's children were being bullied on the school bus by the youth and other members of his family.

She said that Stewart and has wife had told the school, without relief, so Stewart was going to visit the principal on the day of the incident.

Earlier, the court heard from prosecution witnesses, being the complainant, his classmate, a relief teacher and a police officer.

The defence did not call any witnesses.

The complainant gave evidence that he was leaving class on September 6 about 3pm, when he saw Stewart at the school.

The youth said that Stewart bumped him, smacked him across the face, grabbed him and put him in a headlock.

He said a female teacher arrived, but Stewart still wanted to have a go at him, until the teacher said she was pregnant.

According to the complainant, he felt pain in his face, while Stewart suffered a cut near his sunglasses.

Under cross- examination, the youth admitted calling Stewart a "c---" before Stewart smacked him across the face.

The complainant also admitted to "swinging anywhere" during the incident.

His classmate, a boy, gave evidence that Stewart and the complainant put each other in headlocks.

The relief teacher gave evidence that she saw part of the incident and that the youth was "punching the man back". She also said that the man had a bleeding nose.

Deloraine Constable Karen Griffiths gave evidence that when she arrived after the incident, Stewart was agitated and told her the youth had "picked on" his children on the bus.

After Magistrate Simon Brown found Stewart guilty of the assault, police prosecutor Konrad Plachta told the court of three driving offences which Stewart was also due to be sentenced for.

Mr Brown adjourned sentencing of all matters to March 14 at 2.15pm.