ONE PUNCH: A hasty decision to punch a former friend in the face has cost one man $1500 and landed him 50 hours of community service.
ONE PUNCH: A hasty decision to punch a former friend in the face has cost one man $1500 and landed him 50 hours of community service. Matt Taylor

'Why don't you headbutt me?': Man fined for nightclub attack

"WHY don't you just head-butt me?"

Those were the words Dustin Lee Hart told police he took as an invitation to assault a former friend at a Gladstone nightclub, a court was told.

Hart did not head-butt the man.

Instead, he punched him in the face and walked away.

Hart, 26, pleaded guilty to common assault while drunk in a public place at Gladstone District Court on Tuesday.

The court was told he had spent about 20 minutes verbally abusing the man early on August 18 last year at MiePlace.

After the man stayed calm, Hart began swearing at him, until the man, referring to a previous incident, asked the fateful question.

Hart then grabbed the man by the shirt, punched him to the side of the head and left.

The victim woke up with a headache and swelling the next day, and in a victim impact statement told police he now avoids the Gladstone area.

Crown prosecutor Ryder Reid said when police spoke to Hart eight days later, he told them his former friend had been "spreading rumours".

"He said that he considered what the complainant said to him as an invitation to head-butt him but that is not accepted by the Crown," Mr Reid said.

Barrister Tom Polley said his client, who now lives in Brisbane, was very sorry for the attack and was drunk at the time.

He asked Judge Michael Burnett to impose the minimum mandatory community service order, noting the charge was common assault and was only before the District Court because it had occurred in a licensed premises.

But Judge Burnett said the community needed to be aware assaults in nightclubs would not be tolerated.

In addition to imposing 50 hours of community service, he fined Hart $1500, with $1000 of that money going to the victim for compensation.

A conviction was recorded.