News

Man avoids prison over assaults in Rushworth

By Liz Mellino

A Rushworth man has been sentenced to a community corrections order following a number of violent assaults committed in the town last year.

In the County Court in Shepparton yesterday, Caleb Ramadan, 19, was placed under the order for a period of two years after pleading guilty to seven separate charges.

Ramadan had pleaded guilty to two charges of intentionally causing injury, two charges of reckless conduct endangering serious injury, one charge of making a threat to kill and two charges of intentionally damaging property.

The court heard Ramadan and two co-accused had been involved in three separate incidents in Rushworth between June and July last year in which several men were assaulted and threatened.

During the incidents, one victim sustained multiple facial injuries, while another was doused in petrol before his vehicle was set alight.

The court heard the motive for the attacks was that Ramadan and one of his co-accused believed the victim had assaulted his girlfriend. However, in the girlfriend’s statement she said they had the wrong man.

Judge Bill Stuart acknowledged that while the co-accused were the main drivers in each of the incidents, Ramadan played an active role.

‘‘It is plain to me that you were a young man easily influenced by older men — you have since cut ties from such influences,’’ Judge Stuart said.

Judge Stuart addressed Ramadan’s significant drug and alcohol abuse from a young age, stating a neuro-psychological report showed his habits began at 12 years of age.

During this time, Ramadan said he smoked marijuana every day, began drinking alcohol regularly and was using between .5 and 1 grams of ice twice a week.

‘‘You’ve stopped using marijuana, drugs and ice, going as you described it cold turkey after the events that led to the current charges,’’ Judge Stuart said.

‘‘You said you did this at home and it was rough — you were determined to stay out of trouble.’’

Judge Stuart addressed Ramadan’s various cognitive difficulties including having an IQ of 81 and a significant reading disorder which impacted his chances of obtaining work when his licence is restored next year.

Judge Stuart said these factors influenced his sentence, with the primary factor being rehabilitation.

‘‘You’re a young man with a disability — it would be wrong to hold you up as an example to deter others,’’ he said.

‘‘This offending was serious to say the least and there is a need to ensure that you do not re-offend.’’

As part of his order Ramadan must be under supervision during the two years, receive treatment and rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol, and attend programs to reduce his chances of re-offending.