Family feud ends in court



WHEN Samantha Burns heard the word "skank'' she lost it and started smacking the face of her 15-year-old tormenter with a beer bottle.

The then 21-year-old mother was on a girl's night out in Yeppoon when the girl, who was dating her ex-boyfriend and father of her child, called out the remark from a distance.

Burns raced over to the girl and asked her what she had said and when she did not get a reply she smacked her in the face with the bottle three times. A clearly remorseful Burns pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm with a weapon in the Rockhampton District Court to the January 2005 incident yesterday.

Prosecutor John McGrath told the court the girl suffered a 2cm cut above her eye, soft tissue damage and a broken tooth as a result of the attack.

But Defence Barrister Ross Lo Monaco said the incident was the culmination of a long running conflict between the pair.

He said his client would become angered when the victim would make comments about taking over the mothering of her child.

Mr Lo Monaco said Burns had shown remorse for her actions and had tried to move on while the girl had tried to inflame the situation by turning up at her workplace.

Judge Julie Ryrie ordered Burns to serve a 12 months probation and perform 100 hours of community service but did not record a conviction.

However, she said Burns had been lucky to avoid a prison sentence for the offence which carries a maximum penalty of ten years.

"Even though these offences would normally result in a term of imprisonment or at least a conviction I am willing to give you one last chance,'' she said.

"You are very lucky you didn't do more serious damage because if you had you would be going to prison... hopefully she (victim) will recover cosmetically and medically.



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