Haas’s mum released despite jail sentence
THE mother of Broncos star and NSW State of Origin debutant Payne Haas has been sentenced to two years' jail after pleading guilty to attacking a delivery driver who cut her vehicle off at a McDonald's car park.
But Uiatu "Joan" Taufua has been released on immediate parole because she cares for her quadriplegic son.
Taufua and two others assaulted 50-year-old driver Keith Tyler so badly he was left with severe facial injuries and needed five weeks off work.
Taufua, 42, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm while in company, at a sentencing hearing in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
She arrived for the hearing wearing a NSW Blues scarf.
"Go the Blues," Taufua told reporters outside Southport Magistrates Court.
"This has nothing to do with my son (Haas)."
Taufua and two other people attacked Mr Tyler in a loading dock at The Pines shopping centre at Elanora on July 25 last year.
The court heard Taufua became "extremely" agitated and began swearing and yelling abuse at Mr Tyler after she believed he had cut her off as she exited the McDonald's carpark in her Toyota Hiace.
A confrontation followed in the loading dock after Mr Tyler stopped his truck and began filming Taufua on his mobile phone.
Mr Tyler was called a "f---ing dog" and a "f---ing mutt" by one of her companions and had his phone slapped out of his hand.
One of Taufua's companions put Mr Tyler in a headlock, kneed him and hit him in the face.
Taufua held Mr Tyler by the shoulders as he was being assaulted, the court heard.
The court was told a number of witnesses ran in to help the delivery driver, who was bleeding profusely.
Taufua again abused him and struck him in the side of the face before fleeing the scene.
CCTV footage of the violent incident, as well as phone video taken by Mr Tyler, was played to the court.
Mr Tyler suffered injuries including a fractured cheek, deviated septum and hole in his bottom lip and needed five weeks off work, the court was told.
He was also suffering ongoing emotional and psychological trauma as a result of the attack.
The police prosecutor called for a jail sentence, saying it was a violent physical assault that was grossly disproportionate with what had sparked the incident.
"He (Mr Tyler) was simply doing his job as a delivery driver and was set upon by the defendant," the prosecutor told the court.
Defence lawyer Lisa Searing said the incident had gotten out of hand very quickly and Taufua regretted that.
Ms Searing said one of her sons had been left a quadriplegic after a car accident and her husband had also been badly injured in another crash, and her reaction to Mr Tyler allegedly cutting her off was "very emotional".
None of Mr Tyler's injuries were caused by Taufua, Ms Searing said.
She said Taufua had a violent upbringing and was "under a lot of pressure" as she cared for nine children at home as well as two nephews and a 94-year-old family friend named Pop.
Magistrate Pam Dowse watched a video replay of the incident and asked for the facts to be read out a second time before sentencing Taufua.
Ms Dowse slammed Taufua for her "totally over the top" reaction.
"Citizens of Queensland are entitled to feel safe on the roads," the magistrate said.
"Road users should feel safe enough to drive ... without some person such as you who can't control their anger jumping out of their car and physically assaulting them."
But despite what she called an ugly and unnecessary assault, Ms Dowse said the sentencing was complicated by the fact that Taufua was the main carer for her disabled son.
She said Taufua would have served actual time behind bars but sentenced her to two years' jail with immediate parole.
It is the second time in two months Taufua has faced court charges with serious asssault.
In March, she was sentenced to three years' probation for assaulting a woman and her teenage daughter at a women's rugby league grand final in Brisbane last August, just weeks after the attack on Mr Tyler.
At that hearing, magistrate Joan White described Taufua's conduct as outrageous and her criminal history appalling, and said she was fortunate to be spared a jail sentence.
Her lawyer, Lisa Searing, has said Taufua was under immense pressure and "regrets the role she played" in the assault on Mr Tyler.