A bizarre altercation between neighbours, sparked by a woman mowing in a "provocative" manner, ended in the pair coming to blows on a Lake Illawarra lawn, a court has heard.
What started as a quiet afternoon mowing the lawn for Corona Avenue resident Carmen Mizzi quickly turned sour when her neighbour's daughter, Betty Beretov, confronted Ms Mizzi about the seemingly innocuous behaviour.
"I was annoyed by the way she was conducting herself," Ms Beretov told Port Kembla Local Court on Monday.
The 42-year-old had been reversing out of her parent's driveway in her Toyota Rav4 when she said Ms Mizzi purposely mowed too close to the driveway in an attempt to block her path.
"She was in a rage [pushing her lawn mower] back and forth, back and forth, provoking me to get out of the car," she said.
The incident quickly turned violent when Ms Beretov left her car and confronted the 56-year-old on her lawn.
Ms Beretov told the court Ms Mizzi slapped her and kicked her "half a dozen times" before the fight was eventually broken up by Ms Beretov's father, Peter.
In court, Ms Mizzi admitted she slapped Ms Beretov and "kicked" her with her knee once, but said the actions were in self-defence.
"She slapped me first so I gave it back," Ms Mizzi said, defending a common assault charge.
"She said to me, 'You f---ing Jehovah's Witness' ... and when she said that, I was upset."
Ms Mizzi also admitted she pushed the running lawnmower towards Ms Beretov's semi-bare feet.
Ms Beretov denied swearing or being aggressive because she was a "good Christian" but Magistrate Michael Stoddart said her version of events did not add up.
"There are difficulties with Ms Beretov's version about why she stopped in the first place," he said.
"It's hard to believe she got out of the car all nice and calm."
He said the incident was entirely avoidable had they just gone about their own business.
"This was, quite frankly, an incident that should not have happened. Ms Beretov should have just kept going and Ms Mizzi could have waited longer."
"A little bit of patience in this sort of case goes a long way."
Magistrate Stoddart found the offence proved but recorded no conviction, instead placing Ms Mizzi on a six-month good behaviour bond.