Glassing thug in jail ‘default’ call

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A Geelong magistrate has stressed the danger of glassing incidents after a man pleaded guilty on Thursday to assaulting a hotel patron with a broken bottle.

Justin Custo, 22, of Sunshine, appeared in Geelong Magistrates’ Court on charges including recklessly causing injury at Barwon Heads Hotel on 28 February 2015.

Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kylie Jane said that around midnight Custo began arguing with his victim over who should be served first at the bar.

“The accused either headbutts or punches the victim’s nose causing it to bleed.

“The men later enter into a fist confrontation, during which Mr Custo smashes a glass bottle and uses it as a weapon to continuously strike the victim, who was on the ground, around the head area,” the prosecutor told the court.

“The victim suffered cuts to the head, which caused him to bleed. The attack lasted for several blows before a security guard attempted to restrain him.”

Custo then punched the security guard four or five times.

“The (glassing) victim was conveyed in an ambulance to Geelong Hospital where he was treated for cuts to his head and arms.

“He suffered a hematoma to the head and had embedded glass removed from his skin.”

Custo’s barrister Terry Strong said his client acknowledged he committed a “very, very serious assault”.

“My client overreacted to the verbal altercation and it got out of control. He was also extremely intoxicated even though he knows that is no excuse for his conduct.”

Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge said a judgement in a glassing case in Melbourne would be “relevant precedence” for Custo’s sentence.

“In the judgement … it’s explained why glassing should be considered as a serious level of offending. It states that smashed glass is a most dangerous weapon,” Mr Lethbridge said.

“These incidents usually result from alcohol-fuelled disproportional aggression. There is typically a high and obvious risk of serious injury.

“I must consider both the degree of the injury caused as well as the degree of probability of injury. It was only good luck that a more serious injury wasn’t caused.”

Mr Lethbridge said that before sentencing Custo he would consult authorities on whether imprisonment should be a default penalty for glassing offences.

Originally published at Geelong Independent.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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