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March 6, 2021

Byron man guilty of assaulting neighbour over boundary issue

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Byron Bay Local Court. Photo Brett Newberry

A Byron Bay man has been found guilty of assaulting his neighbour with a piece of wood after the two men clashed over the location of their shared boundary.

Bazil Manousis was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by magistrate Geoffrey Dunlevy on September 28 after a hearing in Byron Bay local court.

During the course of the hearing the court was told that there had been a degree of animosity between Mr Manousis and his neighbour, Derek Harbison, for some time.

This animosity stemmed, in part, from a dispute between the two men over the exact location of the boundary between the two properties.

The court heard that on April 19 this year Mr Harbison was cutting back some palm plants that he felt were impinging on this property when he was approached by Mr Manousis. Mr Manousis told Mr Harbison to stop but he refused.

The pair argued heatedly and then Mr Manousis struck Mr Harbison with a piece of wood which, the court heard, may have been a fence paling.

The court heard that Mr Harbison suffered a minor head injury, possible minor concussion, and a soft-tissue injury to his neck as a result of the blow.

The incident was witnessed by a neighbour whose evidence the magistrate accepted, despite the defence’s claim that she was unreliable.

Defence

Mr Manousis gave evidence that he did not strike his neighbour but simply gave him a two-handed push to the chest after the man approached him with the garden shears.

He said that he had done this in self-defence, and that Mr Harbison must have struck his head on a rock when he hit the ground after being pushed.

However, the police prosecutor, Nathan Lockett, said: ‘The defendant’s version, in our submission, makes very little sense.’

‘She [the neighbour] described the accused taking a plank of wood and striking the complainant. She then saw the accused going behind the house and then coming back without the piece of wood.’

‘She had no reason to construct her evidence and in my submission, your honour would accept it.’

Magistrate Dunlevy did so, finding that Mr Manousis had not acted in self-defence and was guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Mr Manousis will return to Byron Bay local court on November 15 for sentencing.


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