A young Kanahooka man, savagely beaten two years ago and who later became the face of an anti-violence campaign, has fronted court over his role in a home invasion that left another man with serious stab injuries.
Bart Gilmore, 21, was severely injured when he was attacked by three thugs in the Crown Street Mall on October 2, 2010.
The vicious and unprovoked assault was captured on CCTV and later used by police in a campaign against alcohol-fuelled violence in Wollongong's CBD.
At the time, Gilmore fronted the media calling for an end to the thuggery.
Wollongong District Court judge Paul Conlon yesterday accepted that Gilmore had suffered from post-traumatic stress since the incident, and it had led him to surround himself with "protectors" who could help him if he got into trouble.
Judge Conlon said this was the nature of his relationship with co-accused Nathan Hill, who had taken advantage of Gilmore's vulnerable state.
"All the references speak of him [Gilmore] being a polite and respectful young person ... [referees] are shocked at his participation in the crime as it was totally out of character," Judge Conlon said.
"I am satisfied that anyone listening to the material [presented in court today] would be satisfied that this is not a person who deserves to be sent to prison for one evening where there was an incredible lack of judgment on his behalf."
The court heard the duo were at Hill's home in the early hours of June 21, last year when they agreed to go for a drive to Gwynneville so Hill could "pick up a few things" and "collect some debts".
When they arrived in the suburb Hill, unbeknownst to Gilmore, proceeded to break into a home while the occupants slept inside.
He stole jewellery and a backpack before returning to the car, parked in an adjoining street, and a waiting Gilmore.
Hill then said he wanted to go back to the house and asked Gilmore to come and act as a lookout, to which he agreed.
However, when Hill entered the home a second time, he woke a woman sleeping in the bedroom, who called out for help.
The noise woke her sons, who gave chase to a fleeing Hill.
During an ensuing struggle, Hill stabbed one of the men in the face with a knife he had been carrying.
Gilmore also fled the scene and was later found by police hiding behind a row of garbage bins.
Judge Conlon yesterday said Gilmore's involvement in the incident was in no way similar to Hill's and accepted that Gilmore had no prior knowledge of the fact that Hill intended to break into the home or that he was carrying a knife.
He acknowledged that Gilmore was extremely remorseful for his role in the incident, had no prior criminal convictions and had a low chance of reoffending.
He ordered Gilmore to enter into a two-year good-behaviour bond.
Hill was sentenced to at least two years' prison on Thursday for his role in the crime.