Neighbourhood feud ends with near tragedy


A longrunning dispute with a neighbour nearly ended with two women being run over on a busy Sunnybank street, a court has been told.

Zhao Yu, 28, plasterer, faced Holland Park Magistrates Court today charged with common assault of a female neighbour and serious assault of two police who came to his aid.

The court heard Zhao had never been in trouble before settling down with his wife and newborn son in a Jackson St house next to a Housing Commission rental property.

The Zhao family had tried to talk to their neighbours, who have since been evicted, about constant late night noise.

But they were met with racial abuse from the African-Australian renters every time they ventured outside, the court heard.

Matters came to a frightening and ugly head one evening on November 14 last year.

Zhao's barrister, Michael Woodford, said a friend of Mrs Zhao drove to the street to pick her up and parked outside the Housing Commission home.

Mrs Zhao went to the car to speak to the driver, but while walking back to her house to check the gate was locked her neighbour charged out and crash tackled her, Mr Woodford said.

CCTV footage played to the court showed the women fall on to the busy street.

Mrs Zhao later went back inside her house and called her husband,

When he saw CCTV footage of the incident, and saw cuts and bruising on his wife, he became angry and called police, Mr Woodford said.

Mrs Zhao had given birth only three months earlier and was still breastfeeding, which Mr Woodford told the court had probably made him more protective of his wife.

Police arrived soon after Mr Zhao's call and arrested the neighbour, who began screaming and was acting irrationally, the court heard.

Four constables had to carry her by the arms and legs past the Yu's house.

She saw Mr Zhao standing on the footpath and began abusing him and laughing, which sent him into a rage.

The court heard Zhao started kicking and punching his neighbour and police dropped her, causing the woman to hit her head on the ground.

They repeatedly tried to restrain Zhao, who told police when he arrived that he wanted to attack his neighbour but knew he should not. He was finally handcuffed and arrested.

Mr Woodford asked that his client he given probation as he was at very low risk of reoffending, particularly now the neighbour had moved.

He also asked for no conviction to be recorded as the Department of foreign Affairs and Trade had already cancelled his client's visa, while his bridging, partner visa was under review.

Magistrate Simon Young acknowledged Mr Zhao's lack of criminal history in Australia and in his Chinese homeland, and also his timely pleas of guilty to all three charges.

"There's a context of acrimony between the neighbours, but the charges are serious and the actions of Mr Zhou are egregious and without justification,'' he said.

"This was not done in the heat of the moment. There were some minutes (of delay).

"Police were actually in the process of dealing with the situation.

"Perhaps as few as a couple of deep breaths would have prevented what occurred on November 14, 2019.''

Mr Young sentenced Mr Zhou to nine months' probation for the common assault of his neighbour and one fine of $1500 for the two serious assault charges.

No conviction was recorded.



Renter trashes house: Joe Courte shares his frustrations over funding for QCAT.
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Originally published as Neighbourhood feud ends with near tragedy