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26 June, 2021

Man jailed for assaulting resident with a metal bar

A 24-year-old man has been jailed for hitting a man who had fallen over on the head with an iron bar. Nelson Jack Keppa pleaded guilty to two charges of armed robbery and grievous bodily harm in East Mackay on Mar 14, 2020.

By John Bell

A 24-year-old man has been jailed for hitting a man who had fallen over on the head with an iron bar.

Nelson Jack Keppa pleaded guilty to two charges of armed robbery and grievous bodily harm in East Mackay on Mar 14, 2020.

The Mackay District Court was told that at 6:45am on that day, the victim heard his car door closing in front of his house and went outside to find Keppa in his car.

The Court was told that Keppa had denied that he was stealing the car, and then the 52-year-old car owner grabbed a small shovel from his garden and moved towards Keppa to scare him away.

Evidence was tabled in court that the car owner swung at Keppa with the small shovel, missed and fell forward onto the ground.

Keppa then hit the car owner on the left side of his head with a metal bar.

The Crown Prosecutor told the court that the owner of the car then got up and waved the small shovel at the car thief, who waved his metal bar back at the car owner, before running away.

Evidence was provided that after the assault, the car owner was bleeding from his head, suffered a depressed skull facture, and internal bleeding as well as a cut to his scalp. His wife took the victim to hospital who had a mild traumatic brain injury and taken to the Townsville Hospital to be treated by the neurological surgical team, but did not require surgery.

Keppa was arrested on March 17 in 2020 and later moved from the correctional centre to be questioned about the assault.

At the police station, Keppa was placed in a cell with a disguised police officer where he admitted to the assault and said he hit his victim with an iron bar when the car owner came rushing at him with a shovel.

Counsel representing Keppa explained that for much of his childhood, Keppa was brought up by his grandmother who died last year; and that Keppa suffered a head injury when hit by a car when he was nine years old.

The court was told that Keppa started using marijuana at 15, and five years later he started using ice or methamphetamine and alcohol, including having done so on the night before the assault.

Judge Ian Dearden told Keppa that the facts sent a chill down his spine and jailed him for five years.

However, Judge Dearden made Keppa immediately eligible for parole, after taking into account that Keppa had been in jail on remain since March 2020.

Judge Dearden added that due to an eight-month backlog of cases with the Queensland Parole Board, Keppa’s counsel could immediately apply for parole, but Keppa would remain in jail until the Board consider his application in February 2022.   


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