Ivy league student Joshua Robert Billington appeals one-punch attack sentence
A 21-year-old man with a scholarship to Princeton University has been granted bail on appeal after being sentenced to nine months’ prison for a punch that left a man unconscious outside a Perth bar in August.
Joshua Robert Billington had pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm over the incident outside Niche Bar in Leederville in August last year.
The Perth Magistrates Court heard the victim, Mitch Davis, was with a female friend who was being harassed by a friend of Billington’s.
The court heard when Mr Davis stepped forward to be next to his friend, he was punched from the side by Billington.
Mr Davis suffered concussion, a cut to his head, an injury to his chin, and a brain bleed which required ongoing monitoring.
Billington showed ‘callous disregard’ by leaving victim
Magistrate Elizabeth Woods said the victim had no opportunity to protect himself and the accused had “acted impulsively to a perceived threat to his friend”.
She said Billington had showed a “callous disregard” and “lack of remorse” as he walked off with his friend while bystanders assisted the victim.
The court was told that while Billington was not “overly intoxicated”, his friend was “extremely intoxicated”.
Ms Woods said it was “fortunate for the complainant” the consequences were not worse.
The court heard Billington had no prior convictions, a fine academic record and a scholarship with Princeton University in The United States.
But the magistrate said deterrence was called for because the attack was unprovoked and the force behind the punch was considerable.
Ms Woods handed down a nine-month sentence, making Billington eligible for parole.
Mr Billington immediately appealed against the decision, and was granted bail on $100,000, with an additional $100,000 surety.
His bail conditions require him to surrender his passport by January 31.
But he can return to the United States in the interim to complete exams.
He spent the night in Hakea Prison before being released.
Victim hopes jail time will be a deterrent
Outside the court, Mr Davis said he welcomed the sentence.
“I’m doing alright,” he said. “The result is what I wanted it to be. Hopefully it deters any future attacks.”
Mr Davis’s mother, Jennifer, said she believed the outcome would be good for society.
“It sends a clear message — we don’t have any vindictiveness at all, but what happened wasn’t right and we don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” Ms Davis said.