Man fighting deportation faces court 15 years after offence
A NEW ZEALAND citizen fighting deportation after being jailed for drug trafficking has finally faced the music over a 15-year-old assault charge.
Joseph Alfred Smith, 54, is sitting in a detention centre in Western Australia while waiting on a decision about his appeal over the Australian Government cancelling his visa after he was convicted in November 2019 of trafficking methamphetamines.
Smith trafficked drugs over five months in Rockhampton and received a 2.5 year prison term.
This week, Smith pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court to an assault occasioning bodily harm charge from 2005.
Crown prosecutor Tiffany Lawrence said it was not known why this matter had taken so long to be finalised.
She said Smith was originally charged with grievous bodily harm, which had been changed prior to sentencing on September 30.
Ms Lawrence said there was a warrant issued in relation to this offence in March 2007 but there was a delay in executing the warrant.
The assault took place after Smith caught a temporary housemate causing damage and stealing from him in March 2005 and “overreacted”.
Smith punched the victim in the face multiple times, causing him to bleed, suffer a laceration, concussion and many bruises to his face, head and wrist.
“The laceration to his right scalp had to be sutured,” Ms Lawrence said.
Ms Lawrence said the pair had only recently met with Smith allowing the victim to stay at his place in exchange for rent when the victim could pay it.
She said the victim had only been there a few days prior to the dispute and assault.
Ms Lawrence said the victim offered Smith a watch when approached about the damage and stealing.
The watch belonged to Smith and had been given to him by his son.
Ms Lawrence said Smith made full admissions to police.
She said it was his first violence offence with Smith later sentenced in 2019 over a violent home invasion.
Ms Lawrence said if Smith’s sentence for the assault was to serve actual time in custody, he would have to be transferred from detention to a prison, serve time until parole release, and then be transported back to detention.
She said had Smith been sentenced for the assault at the same time as the drug trafficking, the sentence would run concurrent with the 2.5 year prison term.
Defence barrister Jordan Ahlstrand said Smith was engaging in episodic binge drinking at the time of the assault.
He said his client, who was born in New Zealand, moved to Australia in 1985 and married his wife in 1990.
He said Smith had two children with his wife, who he separated from years later but remained a father for their children and stepfather for two children she had prior to their relationship.
Mr Ahlstrand said Smith had an excellent work history having started work for Coca-Cola in New Zealand when he left school at 16 and working as a steel fixer when he arrived in Brisbane.
Smith went on to work in demolition, house removal and construction while in Queensland.
He started using meth after a workplace accident while building a bridge in 2014.
Mr Ahlstrand said Smith had engaged lawyers to appeal his visa cancellation and return to New Zealand where his four siblings and mother lived.
He said Smith was told in July the decision would take six to 12 months.
Mr Ahlstrand said Smith wanted to return to Queensland and be near his children.
Judge Jeff Clarke said Smith reacted poorly when he punched the temporary housemate.
“You overreacted,” he said.
Judge Clarke ordered Smith to six months prison, wholly suspended and operational for nine months.