Young men jailed for ‘deplorable’ race-hate bashing
December 12, 2012
Two young Victorian men responsible for what a judge has described as a “deplorable”, “brutal” and “unprovoked” race-hate bashing, have been jailed.In sentencing Shannon Hudson to 10 years and six months’ jail on Wednesday, and his co-accused Wayne O’Brien to four years and six months jail, Supreme Court Justice Betty King said more needed to be done to determine why there were so many angry and unhappy young people in society, particularly males.
Both men, aged 21, pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury to the 21-year-old Vietnamese international student on the night of June 27 this year.
The pair and another friend, who cannot be identified because he was only 17, were on their way to Hudson’s Ascot Vale home after a day of drinking in the city, when they noticed the student walking on the opposite side of Rothwell Street listening to music on his iPhone.
He was on his way home from his part-time job at 7-Eleven.
The court heard that one of the three ran across the road and the others followed and began punching and kicking their victim without provocation.
They taunted him and yelled things including “you f…ing Gook” and “lie down you dog, you yellow dog” as the man begged for his life.
The student made several attempts to escape from his attackers as he screamed and begged for mercy, but each time was returned to the ground and the bashing continued.
“He was terrified and believed he was going to be beaten to death,” the judge said.
He tried to escape into the garden bed but was grabbed by the legs and dragged across the fence and out into the street. He also tried holding on to a small brick fence over which he had been pushed, but such was the force used that the fence itself gave way.
The judge said the trio continued to “rain blows upon him”, before he managed at one point to get up and run away. But they gave chase and continued to punch and kick him in the head, face and the body.
The student was also stabbed multiple times.
“In a particularly chilling episode of violence, you Mr Hudson picked up one of the bricks that was lying loose on the ground,” Justice King said.
While O’Brien tried to talk him out of doing anything with it, Hudson “lifted the brick up over your head with both of your hands and then brought it down on the top of [the victim’s] head with such force that the brick itself broke in half.”
The court heard Hudson’s co-accused tried to get him to go inside his home, about 15 metres away, but Hudson told him: “No, I’m not finished, there’s more bricks.”
But the student, who was in-and-out of consciousness, was eventually left in a pool of his own blood in the gutter.
Nearby residents heard his screams for help and called triple-0. Police and paramedics arrived at the scene soon after.
When police knocked on Hudson’s front door, he and O’Brien denied any knowledge of the incident.
They were arrested just after 6am the following morning and O’Brien made full admissions.
“You talked about the victim being assaulted and ‘copping’ at least 60, 70 more hits before the bricking. You described Mr Hudson hitting [the student] over the head with a brick as being like a sledgehammer and you said the assault would have lasted about 10 minutes during which you just felt anger,” the judge said.
O’Brien had shaved his head the week prior to the attack, and had only recently started hanging out with a group of people who called themselves the Crazy White Boys, or Skinheads, the court heard.
“We’re skinheads and we don’t like Asian people … don’t like Jews, don’t like Negroes, you know what I mean,” O’Brien told police.
Hudson, however, gave a “no comment” interview.
Their victim suffered critical, life-threatening injuries that required facial reconstruction and plastic surgery. He lost several teeth, suffered broken bones, puncture wounds and multiple cuts and bruises and still cannot chew or speak properly because of his injuries.
“You are both incredibly fortunate that he did not die. The beating that he was given by you was remorseless, violent and sustained,” Justice King said.
“It was an unprovoked attack on a young man walking home from his part-time employment doing nothing more than listening to music.
“He did not say or do one thing to provoke any of you, except to be there. This is appalling behaviour; the community expects, and rightly so, that the punishment for an offence of this nature will be appropriate – or as the courts often refer to it “condign” meaning punishment appropriate to the seriousness and circumstances of the offending.”
She said the increasing anger being displayed by young members of our community was “hard to fathom”.
“In some ways you have more available to you than any young people before you have ever had, but you fail to be satisfied with it. There are information, entertainment, educational opportunities, and many other matters available to young people,” she said.
“Even though I accept you do not come from advantaged backgrounds, neither of your backgrounds are so bereft of affection or support from your families, adopted or otherwise, that there was absolutely no opportunities available for either of you.
“Neither of you seem to have taken advantage of any of the countless opportunities or assistance that have been offered to you over the years through different support organisations, you have unfortunately focused more upon your anger and resentments than upon your opportunities.
“Whilst all sorts of psychiatric names and conditions are attached to all of this anger and rage, at some stage our society needs to work out why there are so many angry and unhappy young people, particularly males,” she said.
“The anger is almost invariably accompanied by vast quantities of alcohol and some form of illegal drugs, as was the case for each of you, and as it appears to have been in all of your previous matters Mr Hudson.
“The consequences of all of this anger and rage is appalling violence being inflicted upon innocent members of our community, who just happen to be nearby, or [upon] equally enraged and alcohol-affected young men.”
While O’Brien had no prior convictions, Justice King noted that Hudson had many, in addition to a long history of drug and alcohol abuse.
“This is, at the very least, the ninth person in our community that you have assaulted in some form or another and usually with all of them suffering what I would describe as significant injuries,” she said to Hudson.
“Although I do not have the details, there are eight separate incidents for which you have appeared in court charged with recklessly causing injury or intentionally causing injury, each of them relating to a different person.
“Additionally, there are three charges of armed robbery and at least one other of robbery in which I have no knowledge of the details of what you did to those people that you robbed. All of this you have done between the ages of 16 and 20. It is an horrific record for someone of your age and it has culminated in this violent, dreadful assault.”
She said the community’s protection of Hudson was a significant factor she had to take into account in sentencing, before ordering him to serve a minimum of eight years’ jail.
Hudson appeared shocked and taken aback by the sentence handed down, and looked over at his co-accused sitting alongside him in the dock.
O’Brien, who did not acknowledge his accomplice, was ordered to serve a minimum of two years and six months’ jail.
Their co-accused has already been sentenced for his role in the attack.
Their victim was present at the pair’s sentence but declined to comment on the result.