“I’m Good at Soccer” Not a Good Excuse for Assault

This is the second soccer-related story from Australia I’ve posted. This time around, according to the Courier-Mail, a young man named Jacob Liam Day is being charged with assault for kicking another kid in the head at a bus stop. So where does the “football” come into it?

Defence solicitor Ripley Perkins told Gympie Magistrates Court that was the reason his 17-year-old client, a talented soccer player, had knocked out a student in a “altercation gone terribly wrong”.

“A kick would be a natural movement for a soccer player,” he said.

It’s an interesting defense. I can see, somewhat, the rationale for the lawyer’s strategy where a guy with his dander up during a fight entered into by mutual antagonism might resort to trained physical actions with natural ease. But wait! There’s more!

Witnesses told police Day had approached the victim at the bus shelter after school and said, “I heard you want to fight me”, to which the victim responded that he did not want a fight.

But Day then executed a “martial arts-style kick” to the victim’s head, witnesses told police.

So, I guess there goes the mutual antagonism part. In effect, a kid went up to another kid and tried to provoke a fight. When his target declined, the aggressor kid decided to just kick him in the head. The consequences of the action were also quite serious.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Manns said the 16-year-old victim was knocked unconscious in the “vicious attack”, and has since required medical treatment including a CAT scan, and was off school for a week with concussion.

Mr. Ripley Perkins, defence solicitor, I’m not quite feeling you. I’ve played a little soccer in my life, and I’ve watched some as well (yes, me being an American does seem weird). I don’t recall learning or seeing anything that set expectations on players to slam a kick into the melon of another human being without any provocation. How’d that defense work out for you?

Magistrate John Parker said the kick was a “cowardly blow” and “disgusting thing to do”.

Oh, not so well. How did your client take it?

“My client has no training in martial arts and had no idea what impact the kick would have,” he said.

I see. Well, apparently the impact was a concussion for the victim and missed school time. For young Mr. “Assault it Like Beckham”:

Day was given 12 months’ probation and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid community service.

Kudos to Ripley Perkins attempting to come up with some kind of mitigating circumstance for his client (who committed the act in front of 50 witnesses and a cell phone camera), but honestly, it’s got to be one of the dumbest excuse for a crime I’ve read about. That’s like saying a baseball player’s long years of swinging a bat is a natural reaction if they were to smash a guy’s head in unprovoked.

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