Student kicked in the face for giving one-finger salute
AN IPSWICH man kicked a high school student in the face after the youngster gave him the finger.
The 17-year-old student had been sitting with a friend in the Ipswich CBD when he was confronted by 24-year-old Thornton Lance Watterson and his mates.
When someone in Watterson's group swore at the student, the teen responded by showing them his middle finger. The gesture prompted Watterson to walk over to the student and kick him in the face.
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The kick was immediately followed by a punch to the face, which left the teen swollen and bruised.
After the attack, Watterson regrouped with his friends and walked off.
At Ipswich Magistrates Court this week, Watterson stood in the dock charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.
Police prosecutor Brad Dick said the victim suffered from Asperger's syndrome, a disorder that impaired his ability to communicate and socialise with others.
Sgt Dick said the teen had been wearing his school uniform and was seated when Watterson kicked him in the face.
The assault, which took place at 5.15pm on February 5, was captured on CCTV cameras.
When Watterson was interviewed by police six days later, he told officers he attacked the student because he was angry when the teen gave him the finger.
Watterson said he "acted in the heat of the moment" and, in hindsight, knew he should have walked away instead.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said Watterson had indicated some remorse for his actions.
Mr Fairclough said his client acknowledged he had a problem with controlling his anger and needed help in addressing that problem.
He said Watterson was not aware how old the student was when he attacked him.
Magistrate Donna MacCallum noted Watterson had a history of violence with prior convictions for common assault and assault or obstruct police.
Ms MacCallum said Watterson's most recent and "vicious" attack, had taken place while he was on parole for another matter.
Watterson was sentenced to 12 months in jail with parole eligibility on June 3, 2015.