ON TRIAL: Cedrick Yow-Yeh, 41, was found guilty yesterday.
ON TRIAL: Cedrick Yow-Yeh, 41, was found guilty yesterday. Sarah Steger

Homeless man bashed, kicked and jumped on in vicious assault

A BUNDABERG jury has found a man accused of kicking, punching and jumping on a person's throat guilty.

Charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm, Cedrick Peter Jason Yow-Yeh, 41, maintained he was innocent at the start of his trial on Wednesday.

Throughout the proceedings, the Bundaberg District Court heard Yow-Yeh had violently attacked his homeless drinking buddy, Laurie John Howe, 60, after they'd both had a large amount of wine on November 4, 2016.

While both prosecution and defence agreed there was no argument about the seriousness of the injuries Mr Howe sustained that night, how he'd received them was largely up for debate during the trial.

Laurie John Howe, 60.
Laurie John Howe, 60. Sarah Steger

The court heard that on the night of the assault, Mr Howe said something to Yow-Yeh, resulting in the defendant slapping and punching him off his seat and onto the concrete.

Crown prosecutor Brendan White said a very drunk Mr Howe then lay there while Yow-Yeh kicked his body and jumped on his throat.

Judge Leanne Clare said even though Mr Howe may have made a comment that inflamed Yow-Yeh, there was no evidence of what he'd said.

"It's not clear why you went off," she told Yow-Yeh.

"I can't infer that he said anything significant. Whatever happened, your offending was a gross overreaction to it.

"The only real explanation is drunken aggression."

Judge Clare told Yow-Yeh his offence, though "not a sophisticated one", was vicious.

"While he was helpless on the ground, you used your feet and your fists," she said.

"Afterwards Mr Howe could only crawl away."

During the two-day trial, the jury heard from a number of witnesses including Mr Howe's fiancee Lisa James, a police officer and a doctor.

They heard police who visited him in hospital saw Mr Howe with a split lip, bruising and fractured ribs.

"Those injuries left him vulnerable to pneumonia and he did develop pneumonia. He spent days in the intensive care unit," Judge Clare said.

"It's a matter of luck there was not a more serious outcome for Mr Howe."

After the verdict was delivered yesterday, defence barrister Tom Zwoener told Judge Clare his client had only one similar offence in his history - when he headbutted and kicked someone 11 years ago.

"He's not a persistent violent offender," he said.

But Judge Clare said Yow-Yeh had shown no remorse for the assault on Mr Howe.

She sentenced him to two years' imprisonment with parole eligibility after one year.



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