Bundaberg court housePhoto: Zach Hogg / NewsMail
Bundaberg court housePhoto: Zach Hogg / NewsMail Zach Hogg BUN110814CRT3

Jail for Frenchman who 'brought a knife to a fist fight'

WHEN French national Raphael Bruno Martinez tried to diffuse a love spat between his fellow housemates, his split-second decision to pick up a knife ended up with the 31-year-old pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm.

The victim, a fellow Frenchman, had been sleeping with a number of female residents at the house, near Wallaville, and when one of the women began to punch and slap the victim during a party on May 16 last year, Martinez intervened.

Martinez and the victim had only known each other three days but there was bad blood between the pair, with the victim repeatedly calling Martinez a "son of a bitch", despite the victim knowing Martinez's mother had died a number of years ago.

During the scuffle the victim punched Martinez, who in turn grabbed a knife from the kitchen.

In the Bundaberg District Court yesterday, Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook accepted that Martinez did not deliberately cause grievous bodily harm to the victim.

"Mr Martinez was not the first to resort to violence but he was the one who brought a knife to a fist fight," he said.

The victim received a 10cm cut to his chest, a smaller cut to his chin and the tendons were severed in two of his fingers, which required surgery.

Defence lawyer Bill McMillan said his client felt he needed the knife to defend himself after he was punched.

"He accepts that picking up a knife introduced a fresh dimension," he said.

Martinez retreated to his room after the fight but shortly after the victim's brother brutally beat him in retribution.

Martinez spent two days in hospital and still requires surgery on his eyes - which he is unable to afford.

Mr McMillan said Martinez action's on May 16 were completely out of character and he was highly regarded.

Judge Michael Shanahan said the injuries to the victim gave him no choice but to impose a conviction and a jail term of 18 months, wholly suspended.

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