Fitness fanatic knocked out at Spilt Milk festival by Jese Smith-Shields describes ‘night terrors’ | The Canberra Times

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A fitness fanatic who suffered a broken jaw when he was knocked out by a former friend at a Canberra music festival suffers regular “night terrors” after the assault he still struggles to understand. In a victim impact statement read to the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday, the young man detailed his significant struggles in the wake of the attack perpetrated by Jese Smith-Shields. Smith-Shields, a 22-year-old who once aspired to be a professional rugby league player, was found guilty last month of assault occasioning actual bodily harm over the 2018 incident at Spilt Milk. He was cleared, however, of the more serious charge of recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. This could only be because the trial jury rejected his claims that he punched the victim in self-defence, but found that he had lacked the criminal intent required for a guilty verdict on that count. The court heard during Smith-Shields’ trial that the altercation had stemmed from “bad blood” linked to unsubstantiated rumours that the 22-year-old’s ex-girlfriend had slept with the victim. Another man, Bayley Loughhead, stood trial alongside Smith-Shields and was found not guilty of both charges. Smith-Shields’ sentencing proceedings began on Thursday, when Crown prosecutor Trent Hickey read statements from the victim and his mother. The victim said the assault had left him unable to eat anything but pureed food for several weeks. He also described suffering regular headaches as a consequence, as well as night terrors in which he imagines someone chasing and trying to hurt him. The man said two years on, he still did not understand why he was assaulted. “I thought we were mates,” he said of Smith-Shields. The man also detailed feeling “totally useless” while unable to work, having to give up his passion of playing rugby league, and being unable to train at the gym for a time in what he said was a big blow to his mental health. His jaw still regularly “clicks” and hurts, but he plans to live with the pain rather than undergo further surgery because he does not want to spend more time away from work and the gym. Despite all this, he said he was grateful that he did not end up dead or with a brain injury. “I keep thinking over and over again, what if I didn’t wake up?” the man said. Mr Hickey urged Justice John Burns to sentence Smith-Shields to a jail term, even if it was suspended, arguing that a good behaviour order on its own would not be a strong enough penalty. He said it was important to deter others for similar offending after such a public incident that involved “a targeted and direct blow to the head”. Mr Hickey also asked the judge to accept the account of a particular witness who described the knockout blow as having been delivered “in a king hit fashion”. He also highlighted the fact that “the offender decamped from the scene quickly” after delivering the knockout punch, saying it was

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