Young footballer sentenced for punch thrown during match

GETTING one in first did not help the cause of Ethan Charles Gibson, who was sentenced in Gladstone District Court on Wednesday for grievous bodily harm.

The charge relates to an under-17s AFL game in Clinton earlier this year.

The court heard that Gibson had made a strong tackle during the first quarter of the game on April 13, which knocked his opponent out.

His victim, Mitchell Robertson, captain of the opposing side, ran towards his felled teammate when Gibson took pre-emptive action, throwing a punch at Mr Robertson as he approached.

Gibson, 17 at the time of the incident, appeared in the dock for sentencing, supported by his family.

The punch fractured Mr Robertson's eye socket and resulted in a number of operations and double vision, which Mr Robertson still experiences to some degree.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Hynes said the attack had been unprovoked, deliberate and clearly against the rules of the game.

But he did acknowledge that Gibson had misread the situation when Mr Roberston was approaching in throwing the punch and that Gibson had no previous criminal history.

Defence solicitor Geoff Skelton said his client had thought Mr Robertson was approaching to engage in a fight and had simply "got in first."

Gibson was convicted and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for 18 months, as well as being ordered to pay $2510.33 in medical expenses and $2000 for pain and suffering to Mr Robertson.