Man punches kid in face as neighbourhood dispute escalates

Richard William Hasler, 46, from Mackay instructed his lawyer he struck a teen after he snapped following a long-running neighbourhood dispute.
Richard William Hasler, 46, from Mackay instructed his lawyer he struck a teen after he snapped following a long-running neighbourhood dispute. Contributed

A MACKAY mining worker who punched a teenager in the face claims it was the culmination of a long-running neighbourhood dispute, in which he'd been continually harassed.

Richard William Hasler's lawyer told a court the 46-year-old befriended a family living in the "housing commission area" before their relationship soured.

He supposedly snapped, hitting the 16-year-old after his home was broken into and he was repeatedly called a paedophile and junkie.

Nevertheless, Hasler fronted Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday, pleading guilty to common assault over the attack in Toowoomba.

Defence solicitor Geoff Govey said Hasler had moved to Mackay to "escape the situation" linked to his adult neighbours and their "six children aged under 16".

Prosecutor Shelby Larcombe gave the agreed facts, stating on February 14 Hasler drove into his street and was allegedly "subject to verbal abuse from children".

Hasler revved his vehicle, spinning the tyres on the grass of his front yard before skidding to a stop in front of the victim and younger siblings.

"The defendant has walked straight up to victim ... and punched at his head, making contact with his face, and at his stomach, grazing the area," Ms Larcombe said.


The victim's dad stormed out of his home and Hasler kicked out at him, before copping a punch himself.

"The defendant has then grabbed a scooter and swung it around before police were called and the defendant has left the area," the prosecutor said.

Hasler told police he'd "had enough" of abuse directed at him "which had gone on for a few months".

Mr Govey, of Taylors Solicitors, described his client as a fitter in the mining industry who'd been the "victim of abuse", and claimed police were regularly called to Hasler's street in relation to the victim and his siblings.

Still, the lawyer described Hasler as "remorseful" about the attack, noting his criminal record had "nothing like this".

Magistrate Scott Luxton considered the circumstances, adding it "in no way excuses the behaviour", which "breached the rules of society".

He noted Hasler's "significant" record, though said offences had been "relatively scant" since the year 2000 and prior crimes weren't of a similar nature.

Taking into account the fact Hasler pleaded guilty, negating the need for a costly hearing, Mr Luxton issued a $900 fine and recorded a conviction.

Topics:  common assault editors picks mackay mackay court mackay crime mackay magistrates court neighbourhood dispute queensland police service toowoomba

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