Coast dad hits out after son left to die alone on pub floor
A SUNSHINE Coast dad has hit out at the senseless alcohol-fuelled violence that left his son to die alone on "a hotel bar floor" at Gatton as the "assailant" awaits sentence for manslaughter.
Bryson Black, 73, said he had lost his riding companion, debating partner, friend and mate when Laurence, 46, died.
He said he also lost the lineage of young Scottish man George James Black who came to Queensland in the late 1800s to seek his fortune in gold mines.
"I'm distressed and appalled almost daily, particularly weekends, when I'm confronted with a senseless alcohol and drug fuelled violence permeating throughout our society, as presented all too often by media," he said in a victim impact statement.
"This constantly reminds me of the image in my head that my son died alone without a loved one by his side on a hotel bar floor.
"I have extreme difficulty understanding how the intellect of our young people is so dramatically affected by alcohol and/or drugs that a person is able to inflict so much harm on another person.
"I was brought up to be considerate in my attitude to my fellow man, not to be confrontational, to resolve any problems amicably."
Christopher James Earel, 29, was found guilty of manslaughter after a jury rejected a murder charge against him following a trial in Brisbane Supreme Court.
Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell attributed Earel's ability to deliver rapid punches during a fight at the Gatton hotel to his boxing background.
He said Earel had an explosive reaction and delivered a sustained attack on Mr Black.
"The attack was brutal," he said.
"If there was any behaviour on the part of Mr Black, it must have been very minor or trivial and it is the accused that had the explosive violent reaction."
Defence barrister Robert East sought to dispel talk of his client being an amateur boxer, saying he had fought in just four bouts on the Sunshine Coast and Caboolture.
He said he had only boxed as an extension of being a "fitness fanatic" and that he rarely drank alcohol.
Mr East said his client realised he should have walked away but he believed Mr Black was going to assault him because their verbal exchange was becoming heated.
He said Mr Black had earlier been gesticulating wildly at Earel's friends and had accused them of some incident at the Gatton showgrounds.
Mr East said Mr Black would not accept that Earel and his friends had not been at showgrounds.
He said his client accepted he threw the first punch as a pre-emptive strike.
"This was not an entirely gratuitous unexplained attack," he said.
Justice Peter Applegarth, who will hand down his sentence at 2.30pm on Wednesday, said he believed he was entitled to accept there were about 15 punches, noting there were 25 bruises on Mr Black's body, some of which would have come from a fall and from first aid.
"Someone who is an amateur boxer can surely guard themselves by putting their hands up and blocking any punch Mr Black threw," he said.
"We can't just on living in a community where people deliver brutal punches because they feel threatened by someone who verbally offends them."
Earel has served 844 day in pre-sentence custody.
The day Laurie Black's life changed forever
THE day "Laurie" Black headed off to Gatton to pursue an element of his vintage motorcycle passion he left a note under his wife Joy's pillow telling her he loved her.
Mrs Black told Brisbane Supreme Court how he was her everything and she felt like he had lost her other half.
She said Laurie was in the middle of renovating their whole house, fixing her car and refurbishing a vintage motorcycle collection with his father.
Mrs Black said they had been together for 15 years, had their own language and could read each other's minds.
She said they had grand plans to become grey nomads and take long road trip.
"I truly felt like I was missing half of me. I had not only lost my husband, I had lost my best friend," she said.