Violent offender in fist fight while facing court

TWO police officers had to tackle a defendant to the ground in Gympie District Court yesterday afternoon when a routine sentencing took a turn for the worse.

Zane James Loveridge, 21, had just been sentenced to jail for a violent attack on a man in his own home when chaos broke out.

Judge Brendan Butler, SC, had just finished telling Loveridge that a future in jail was likely unless he curbed his violent behaviour, evident in his criminal history, when Loveridge laid fists into a man in the courtroom gallery - right in front of the judge's eyes.

The court had head Loveridge had spent his pre-sentence time in custody working towards attaining tertiary study and that his life had taken a turn for the better.

However, when Loveridge stood up in the dock to leave court after his sentence - 20 months' jail for a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm - a man in the courtroom gestured at him and seconds later Loveridge could be seen throwing punches towards the man's head.

It took two police officers, present in the court for proceedings, to restrain Loveridge, who had to be forced to the ground and handcuffed before being escorted out.

Judge Butler adjourned and left the courtroom during the melee.

A group of children were present during the violence.

Gympie Times

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