A TEENAGER charged over a horrifying coward-punch in Surfers Paradise last year has sparked further outrage online after laughing and posing for photos as he walked free from court without a conviction.
Caleb Maraku, 19, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm in the Southport Magistrates Court over the brutal November 27 attack, which rendered his victim, 19-year-old Taliesin Tardrew-O’Meara from NSW, unconscious.
Chilling vision of the brutal blow, obtained by 9 News, shows Maraku strike Mr O’Meara once in the side of the head on Orchid Avenue around 3am, causing him to collapse and smash his head on the concrete.
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Maraku wasn’t even allowed to be in Surfers Paradise at the time, after having been ordered by the courts to stay out of the party precinct for 12 months back in January 2017.
The court heard Maraku had defied that order and had been out on the glitter strip, drinking with his two co-accused, Mitchell Mark Hele and Frankie Roman Jeretic who were visiting from Sydney on the night of the attack.
See the chilling footage of the attack here.
Maraku’s defence lawyer told the court her client “does not intent to drink again” following the birth of his first child.
Magistrate Joan White said Maraku was a “very lucky man” and that his actions “could have ended in [Mr O’Meara’s] death” before sentencing him to 12 month probation, and ordering him to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Mr O’Meara will receive $365 in compensation to help with medical bills.
No conviction was recorded.
The Coomera scaffolder added insult to injury after laughing and posing for photos as he walked free from court on Friday afternoon.
Video uploaded to Facebook shows the 19-year-old strutting out of the Gold Coast courthouse giggling while filming himself being followed by the media and urging his partner to “take a picture”.
The footage has been viewed more than 240,000 times and has triggered outrage online, attracting thousands of comments.
“The justice system is a joke,” one woman said. “He is laughing at what he received no wonder victim of violence never feel safe in this country. What a joke 😡.”
“Stop wasting money on TV ads claiming to punish coward punch attackers and do something about it. Our legal system is absolutely disgusting,” another wrote.
Other comments included:
“Someone needs to wipe the smile off his face coz the judge didn’t bother.”
“What an absolute disgrace, the courts have got to start taking this one punch can kill seriously. Laughing and joking when leaving court, what a moron.”
“They should be re-reviewing the case…the attacker is no way remorseful and is treating it like he is a hero. Put him in the ring with Danny Green!”
“How does somebody not record a conviction for that act of rubbish? Something needs to change or we will see more disgusting acts like this happening. This attacker is showing no remorse and the case should be reviewed after watching this video. I feel sorry for the victim and his family.”
Adding to the comments from angered Australians were the words of Mr O’Meara’s mum, Tasha Tardrew who penned the following letter to Maraku after learning he had avoided jail time.
“These are the hopes I have for the person who coward-punched my son. This is for you –
I hope you never get a message from your child’s best friend in the early hours of the morning saying that they have been king-hit and they are in a bad way.
I hope you don’t have to frantically ring around to find out if your child is still alive or critically injured.
I hope that you don’t have to get a photo of your child lying in a hospital bed with a brace around their neck not knowing if permanent damage has been done.
I hope you don’t have to receive a video of a coward hitting your child when you are at work and then have to survive the rest of the day with those horrific images, and the sound of your son’s head hitting the concrete playing over and over in your mind.
I hope you don’t have to explain to your 12-year-old daughter what has happened to her older sibling and have her in hysterical tears and petrified her brother won’t be coming home.
I hope you don’t then have sleepless nights over the following weeks as you constantly check on your child every hour to see that they are still breathing.
I hope you never have to be a single parent who has to spend thousands of dollars you don’t have just before Christmas to fix the damage another person has done to your child.
I hope you don’t spend your days thinking that your child’s sporting career may be over due to someone who can’t supposedly “handle” their alcohol.
I hope you don’t have to watch your child struggle each day with not being able to eat due to split teeth, head spins and horrific headaches weeks after being attacked.
I hope you never have to see your child so stressed out because they have to take an exam that will determine their future with no chance to study due to their injuries.
I hope you don’t have to spend every waking hour thinking “what if” and have all the different horrible scenarios going through your head 24/7.
I hope you don’t have to watch a video of the person who has hit your child laughing as they leave court and experience that sickening feeling that they really don’t care nor have any remorse not only for all the pain and suffering they have caused to the person they have hit, but the domino effect that it has had on all their family and friends.
I hope you never have to experience the feeling that your child may not have come home and how many lives that would have destroyed.
Above all, I hope you get to read this and finally understand what heartache and pain you have cause my beautiful little family and I hope that one day you will feel the need to take responsibility for your actions.
I do not wish any harm to come to you as I would never want your family to go through what we have gone through but I do wish that you take a good hard look at your actions and make the decision never to do this to another human being again.”
— Nine News Gold Coast (@9NewsGoldCoast) January 12, 2018