28 December 2023

Wagga man jailed for grievous bodily harm after victim left blind in right eye

| Oliver Jacques
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Trent Beaver has been sentenced to a non-parole jail term of two years and one month after pleading guilty in Wagga Wagga Local Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article contains graphic content.

Wagga man Trent Beaver has been sentenced to a non-parole jail term of two years and one month after pleading guilty in Wagga Wagga Local Court to causing grievous bodily harm to Michael Lyons during an incident in Narrandera in October 2022.

The published sentencing decision by Judge Gordon Lerve was made public in December 2023.

It revealed the victim was diagnosed with a ruptured eyeball, with a doctor’s assessment stating Mr Lyons had “blindness in the right eye with no prospect of regaining vision in the right eye”.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offender deliberately placed his fingers in the eye of the victim and applied force,” Judge Lerve said.

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According to the published decision, the origin of the dispute occurred when Mr Lyons had a falling out with a woman who was in a relationship with Beaver at the time, over the alleged theft of an electric bike in early 2021, causing ongoing animosity between them.

On 21 October 2022, the victim went to a residential address in Narrandera, where he saw Beaver and the woman on the front yard. Mr Lyons allegedly made a comment to the woman about stealing his bike. Beaver then allegedly said to Mr Lyons: “Come and fight me for disrespecting my woman.”

A verbal argument between the two men then escalated into a physical fight. The victim felt Beaver’s fingers pressed into his right eye, which caused significant pain, and was allegedly punched by Beaver in the side of his head.

Mr Lyons presented at Narrandera District Hospital with severe pain and swelling to his right eye and then had surgery at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, which saved the structure of his eyeball.

Two days later, the victim’s daughter showed a video of the incident to police and Beaver was arrested. He has been in custody since then.

In August 2023, he pleaded guilty in Wagga court of causing grievous bodily harm to Michael Lyons.

Judge Lerve sentenced him to a non-parole period of two years and one month, backdated to include time already spent in custody. The period expires on 7 December 2024. The judge recommended release from jail after this period, with the balance of his term of one year and three months to be served on parole.

The published decision stated a report by a Dr Sidhu was submitted as evidence on Beaver’s history and background.

The report said Beaver gave an account of being sexually abused by a priest when he was an alter boy.

It also detailed alleged abuse Beaver suffered at the hands of a partner of his mother when he was a child, and stated Beaver was remorseful for his actions towards Mr Lyons.

“The contents of the report of Dr Sidhu entitle the offender to a finding of special circumstances,” Judge Lerve stated.

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Beaver was given less than the maximum sentence for his offence, which is 10 years imprisonment. He also received a 25 per cent reduction in his sentence for pleading guilty.

His lawyer argued that his sentence should be served within the community, but the judge rejected this argument.

“I have particular concerns about community safety given the offender’s record particularly for matters of violence,” he stated.

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