Two bricklayers have been sentenced and are lucky to escape serious prison time after an incident at a Queensland pub where they terrorised two staff members in a “prolonged” violent attack.
Gladstone Magistrates Court heard the report of 24-year-old Zachary John Patrick Stringer and 33-year-old Rhys Paul Finco and their activities on 28 August at the Tannum Sands Hotel.
The pair worked together, and were drinking in the pub’s gaming area when around 10pm they became the only patrons in the venue.
They were told by a female bar attendant they could not take drinks outside to smoke, but they did anyway, so she informed a male staffer, who was the only other employee onsite at the time, and who instructed the pair they must bring the drinks inside.
Not long after, it’s said Stringer began making grunting-type noises, and when he approached the bar to order more drinks the female employee refused him on the basis of his level of intoxication. This prompted an argument, and the male barman explained the policy that required someone to leave if they had been refused service.
This reportedly prompted Finco to get up and say “We’re not going to have this problem again are we?” and the male barman, attempting to diffuse the situation, told them they had five minutes to finish their drinks before they had to leave.
Continuing to be provocative, they were told the police would be called, and when they refused to leave the male staffer radioed the manager and asked him to call authorities.
Stringer moved towards him and the man was alarmed to see Stringer with his hand in his pocket. Fearing he had a weapon, he tackled Stringer and placed him in a hold while he patted his pockets for weapons.
Finco then joined in, pushing the male staffer, Stringer got to his feet and the pair punched and pushed him. The other attendant attempted to render aid, but Finco pushed her away, multiple times, as they continued to punch the male worker to the head and body.
Stringer placed a Keno pencil between his fingers and punched the male staffer in the head with the sharp end, before also striking the woman in the side of the face, drawing blood, and then punching her. He also smashed equipment on the bar.
Finco resorted to picking up a chair and striking the man with it numerous times, until it broke.
Both staff members managed to retreat into the kitchen. Finco used a second chair to smash the glass panels on the door as the male staffer attempted to hold it closed. The two brickies kicked and rammed the door, attempting to get in, and when opportunity came the workers retreated further, into a back room, where they were able to lock the door.
The crazed men followed and attempted to get in, reportedly shoulder barging and hitting the door, and Finco using a chair to punch a hole in the wall, before returning to hitting the door until that chair also broke.
From the room the two staff members were able to watch the men on CCTV monitors and observed Stringer take kitchen knives, return to stand at the door and begin rubbing them together.
At this point they reminded the assailants that that the police had been called, prompting Stringer and Finco to leave the premises, shortly before police arrived. Paramedics treated the two employees at the scene.
The two men appeared before Gladstone Magistrates Court this month for sentencing.
Stringer, who was living in Bundaberg, had no criminal history, and tendered to court how he was ashamed of his actions. He pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company, assault occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company in a public place while intoxicated, entering premises and commit indictable offence, and failing to leave licensed premises.
Finco, who says he has been a bricklayer since he was 16 and was living at Bundaberg with his partner, similarly had no criminal history and is thought to have returned to Melbourne. He admitted alcohol had long been an issue for him and pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed/in company in a public place while intoxicated, common assault in a public place while intoxicated, entering premises and commit indictable offence, and failing to leave licensed premises.
Detailing how the attack lasted for close to 20 minutes, police prosecutor Sergeant Tanya Griffiths described it as an “extremely frightening and prolonged” ordeal for the employees.
Magistrate Mary Buchanan recorded convictions against both men. She sentenced Stringer to 12 months’ jail, but with immediate parole release and order to perform 40 hours of unpaid community service. He was fined $300, ordered he pay $1,000 in compensation and $5,097 restitution.
Finco was sentenced to 12 months’ jail, also with immediate parole release, plus ordered to perform 80 hours of unpaid community service. He was fined $300, and told to pay $750 in compensation and $943 restitution.