Cairns man Luke Chitty. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Cairns man Luke Chitty. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

Former footy star learns appeal fate over Macca’s king hit

A TALENTED former football player will be sent to jail for eight months for king hitting a pilot and father-of-three in a Cairns McDonald's restaurant after an appeal against his original sentence.

Luke Chitty, 26, a former AFL player, was granted immediate parole for grievous bodily harm when he was sentenced by Judge Dean Morzone in the Cairns District Court in August last year.

But following a plea by the victim for "justice", former Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath launched an appeal which was upheld in a decision handed down in Brisbane on Tuesday.

An X-ray of David Batchelor's broken jaw after he was punched by Luke Chitty, 26, in Cairns Esplanade McDonalds in August 2019. Picture: Supplied
An X-ray of David Batchelor's broken jaw after he was punched by Luke Chitty, 26, in Cairns Esplanade McDonalds in August 2019. Picture: Supplied


Justice David Boddice said a warrant would now be issued for Chitty's arrest and he would remain behind bars with his parole fixed for September 19 this year.

The judgement found the sentencing judge discussed the need for denunciation and deterrence when he handed down his decision, but did not apply it by not putting him behind bars.

"A consideration of the sentencing remarks as a whole supports a conclusion that the imposition of a sentence, which did not require the respondent to serve actual custody, did not have the proper regard for the true nature of the respondent's serious offending and its consequences," Justice Boddice said.

"Such a sentence evidences a misapplication of the sentencing principles.

David Batchelor with wife Nicole and their three children Anika, 5, Ayden, six months, and Chloe, 7. Picture: Supplied
David Batchelor with wife Nicole and their three children Anika, 5, Ayden, six months, and Chloe, 7. Picture: Supplied

"The sentence imposed was manifestly inadequate."

The victim of the attack David Batchelor had his jaw broken in three places and has been unable to work as a pilot since the August 2019 incident. He was forced to move his family to Melbourne to be closer to support and medical treatment.

The judgement said while Mr Batchelor made an "unsolicited" approach to Mr Chitty, his response involved a "forceful punch without warning in a public place, with catastrophic consequences".

"For some time Courts have recognised and stressed the importance of deterrence, both general and personal, in the sentencing of young men for serious acts of public violence upon innocent members of the community," Justice Boddice said.

The judgement also discussed Mr Chitty's prior offending where he was convicted of affray involving a single punch in a public place several years earlier.

The Court of Appeal decision upheld Judge Morzone's original head sentence of two-and-a-half years' jail.

Originally published as Former footy star learns appeal fate over Macca's king hit


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