Stolen library card triggered assault: court

An alleged stolen library card landed a Wollongong man in court yesterday on a serious assault charge.

Police told Wollongong Bail Court that Shane Lawrence O'Hara, 29, had briefly shared a Coniston residence with a housemate in late 2010.

In June this year, the housemate went to replace his lost library card at Wollongong City Library but found it had been used to borrow 10 DVDs, which had not been returned.

On August 6 the housemate spotted O'Hara in Burelli Street and accused him of stealing his library card and the DVDs, the court heard.

O'Hara then allegedly punched the man in the head at least six times.

After attending Wollongong Hospital, the victim found he had fractures to the left cheekbone and over the right eye as well as bruising and swelling.

On Sunday, police went to an apartment block in Corrimal Street and arrested O'Hara.

Opposing bail yesterday, police prosecutor Sergeant Pavlin said O'Hara had inflicted serious injuries and shown "complete disregard for the welfare of the victim".

Sgt Pavlin also said police had real concerns about the safety and welfare of the ex-housemate due to alleged threats O'Hara made at the time of his arrest.

Defence solicitor Angela Melouney said O'Hara had strong family connections in Wollongong and his mother lived in the same apartment block. He was also due to become a father soon and wanted to be around to see his child and therefore was not likely to leave the area.

She also noted that O'Hara had not attempted to locate the victim since the alleged assault in August.

Registrar Nicole Hoffman said photos of the victim's injuries showed that it was a serious offence. However, she granted O'Hara conditional bail, ordering him not to approach the alleged victim.

O'Hara will return to court on January 15.

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