Dean O’Brien pleads guilty to GBH charge after breaking man’s jaw at Moby Dick’s Tavern in Holt | The Canberra Times

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A jaw-busting assailant has abandoned plans to argue he acted in reasonable self-defense when he bashed a man at a north Canberra tavern while clad in camouflage. Dean O’Brien, 24, instead pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday to a charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. Police last year appealed to the public for help identifying the Irishman, who lives in Gungahlin, publishing a CCTV image of him after a July incident in which he attacked a patron at Moby Dick’s Tavern in Holt. Investigators have said O’Brien stood up from a stool about 12.44am on July 17 and punched the victim twice to the left side of the head, causing the man to fall backwards and hit his head on the table behind him. O’Brien then stood over the victim, according to police officers who obtained video of the incident, and punched him a further seven or eight times with alternating fists while the man was on the ground. The 24-year-old, wearing a camouflage hoodie and blue shorts, then left the tavern with two other men. MORE COURT AND CRIME NEWS: The “visibly dazed” victim was, meanwhile, seen spitting out his own teeth and blood from his mouth in the aftermath of the violence. The man was taken to Canberra Hospital, where he was found to have a fractured nose and jaw, and several missing or chipped teeth. The man, who was also concussed, left hospital and returned to the tavern within hours, apparently with no memory of what had happened to him. When he began shaking, staff called paramedics and police were notified. Investigators subsequently launched public appeal by releasing the security camera image and asking for information on O’Brien’s identity, prompting several people to contact police and provide his name. O’Brien was nowhere to be found when officers went to his Gungahlin unit on July 25 to look for him and the clothing he had been wearing at the time of the incident. He ended up handing himself in at City Police Station on the morning of July 28 after seeing the CCTV image circulating on Facebook. During O’Brien’s first court appearance, when he was refused bail, defense lawyer Adrian McKenna disputed police claims the assault was “sudden and unprovoked”, saying the issue of self-defense would “likely arise”. Mr McKenna said a man who had attended the tavern with O’Brien was likely to give evidence that, moments before the assault, the victim had said words to the effect of “I will stab you in the eye” while holding a glass. O’Brien, who was later granted bail, accordingly pleaded not guilty at first. But on Friday afternoon, when O’Brien arrived at court 55 minutes late, he switched his plea to guilty. Mr McKenna told the court he was yet to agree with the prosecution on the precise details of the incident, and a disputed facts hearing might be necessary if a resolution could not be reached. Magistrate Robert Cook ultimately committed O’Brien, who remains on bail, to the ACT Supreme Court for sentence. The 24-year-old’s first appearance there has been listed for February 10, when a registrar will start the process of finding a suitable sentencing date. O’Brien faces a maximum penalty of 13 years in jail. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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