Cairns punch victim David Batchelor with his three children Anika, 5, Ayden, 10 months, and Chloe, 7. Picture: Supplied
Cairns punch victim David Batchelor with his three children Anika, 5, Ayden, 10 months, and Chloe, 7. Picture: Supplied

‘Justice served’: One-punch victim speaks out

A PILOT and dad knocked unconscious with his jaw broken in three places in a Cairns McDonald's said he feels vindicated after his attacker was sent to jail on appeal.

David Batchelor, 39, was initially told he may never fly again, such was the extent of his injuries after he was king hit by 26-year-old former AFL player Luke Chitty in the Esplanade restaurant in August 2019.

He was forced to move his young family, including wife and three children, to Melbourne to be closer to support and medical treatment.

Chitty was originally given a two-and-a-half year sentence with immediate parole for grievous bodily harm by Judge Dean Morzone in the Cairns District Court last year, but the Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday this was "manifestly inadequate" and jailed him for eight months.

Luke Chitty, 26, has been jailed for assault. Picture: Stewart McLean
Luke Chitty, 26, has been jailed for assault. Picture: Stewart McLean

Mr Batchelor had called for "justice" after the original sentencing and, speaking from Melbourne on Tuesday, he said he was "relieved" there was now a custodial sentence.

"It's good to know the appeal process worked," he said.

"I do think it warranted more time, but at least the judge panel was able to put in that custodial sentence."

the Judgement, delivered by Justice David Boddice, found the sentencing judge discussed the need for denunciation and deterrence when he handed down his decision, but did not apply it by not putting him behind bars.

An Xray of David Batchelor's broken jaw after he was punched by Luke Chitty, 26, in Cairns Esplanade McDonalds in August last year. Picture: Supplied
An Xray of David Batchelor's broken jaw after he was punched by Luke Chitty, 26, in Cairns Esplanade McDonalds in August last year. Picture: Supplied

It said while Mr Batchelor made an "unsolicited" approach to Mr Chitty, his response involved a "forceful punch without warning in a public place, with catastrophic consequences".

"For some time Courts have recognised and stressed the importance of deterrence, both general and personal, in the sentencing of young men for serious acts of public violence upon innocent members of the community," Justice Boddice said.

the Judgement also discussed Mr Chitty's prior offending where he was convicted of affray involving a single punch in a public place several years earlier.

This is the second sentencing decision of Judge Morzone's to be overturned by the Court of Appeal within weeks after repeat child porn offender - Mena Creek banana farmer Dennis Gerard Brincat - who he also released immediately was jailed for at least six months on appeal in November.

HOPE AT HAND

After originally being told he may never fly again, one punch victim David Batchelor said a world leading medical program may get him back in the air.

The father of three was recently referred to the Melbourne-based program for concussion victims and said doctors had filled him with hope and could allow his family to return to the Far North.

"They think they can definitely get me to a return to work stage and it's up to CASA then (if I'm allowed to fly)," he said.

"My wife and I have spoken about it and once my rehabilitation is over and if I get my class one medical back, we'll be back in Cairns. We love it there."

Mr Batchelor has also received the first round of a Botox treatment to help with the ongoing migraines.

Originally published as 'Justice served': One-punch victim speaks out after appeal decision


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