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Robert Joseph, 37, jailed for nine months over coward’s punch

Robert Joseph followed his victim from the Northcote Social Club and punched him in the head. Picture: Supplied
Robert Joseph followed his victim from the Northcote Social Club and punched him in the head.
Picture: Supplied

A FATHER-OF-TWO who threw a coward’s punch and left the victim for dead has been jailed for nine months.

Robert Joseph, 37, pleaded guilty in the County Court to punching a stranger in the face outside the Northcote Social Club in the early hours of Saturday, February 21, 2015.

Mr Joseph followed the victim outside the popular venue onto High St before punching him in the head, knocking him to the ground.

The victim was knocked out and suffered severe head injuries from the blow and the fall, including bleeding on the brain.

The victim was in hospital for four days and suffered long-term health problems after the attack, including facial palsy, dizziness and psychological issues.

He was unable to work for weeks after the attack.

Judge Paul Grant condemned Mr Joseph’s actions on the night of the attack.

“(The victim’s) body went limp and he fell into the road. You walked away (and) did not assist him in any way,” Judge Grant said.

The court heard 2015 was a “bleak year” for Mr Joseph, who began drinking heavily after a relationship breakdown.

Judge Grant considered mitigating factors to Mr Joseph’s sentence, including his childhood abuse at the hands of a violent, alcoholic father.

Judge Paul Grant said Mr Joseph was a “proud Aboriginal man” who was “not normally violent”.

“You have had a background of hardship and disadvantage,” Judge Grant said.

The court heard that Mr Joseph finished Year 12 studies and had served as captain of the Victorian Aboriginal Football team.

At 18, Mr Joseph’s mother died and his father left the family home. Mr Joseph was forced to support his two younger sisters, which Judge Grant said was “very much to (his) credit”.

The court heard Mr Joseph was involved in the lives of his two young children and played an active role in nurturing his teenage son’s sporting aspirations.

Judge Grant said Mr Joseph showed “genuine remorse” and would have a bright future if he remained alcohol free.

Judge Grant sentenced Mr Joseph on March 7 to nine months jail to be followed by a community corrections order of 21 months.