Paul Bell sentenced to 12-month bond over violent Keira St brawl

Free: A relieved Paul Bell leaves Wollongong courthouse on Thursday after being placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months for a violent brawl in Keira Street last June. Picture: Shannon Tonkin

Free: A relieved Paul Bell leaves Wollongong courthouse on Thursday after being placed on a good behaviour bond for 12 months for a violent brawl in Keira Street last June. Picture: Shannon Tonkin

A 19-year-old man involved in a violent, midnight brawl in Keira Street last June has walked free from court after being placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Paul Bell faced a sentence of up to two years’ jail in Wollongong Local Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to a single charge of affray stemming from the June 13 incident, which left a man with a fractured skull.

However, Magistrate Michael Stoddart declined to impose a full-time jail sentence after finding Bell’s actions in the brawl had been at the lower end of the scale.

Three other men involved – George Campbell, 19, Jarod Sainsbury, 19, and Christopher Morgan, 22 – have already been sentenced for their roles in the crime.

Each man was handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to perform varying amounts of community service.

The court heard the group was out celebrating a mate’s 18th birthday on busy Keira Street when Campbell, Sainsbury and Morgan began to brawl with another group of men outside 151 Nightclub.

That fight quickly dissipated, however another one involving different victims started nearby just minutes later. 

Bell joined in this fight by punching the male victim.

At one stage, one of the group hits the man in the face, causing him to fall unconscious to the pavement.

He was later taken to hospital but avoided major injury, the court heard.

In sentencing Bell on Thursday, Magistrate Michael Stoddart said the brawl had been a “very cowardly act” but accepted that Bell did not instigate it.

Captured: CCTV footage shows Bell's co-offender Christopher Morgan moments before he punches the victim in the face. He later falls to the ground and fractures his skull.

Captured: CCTV footage shows Bell's co-offender Christopher Morgan moments before he punches the victim in the face. He later falls to the ground and fractures his skull.

All-in: Bell, (white hat), joins mates Campbell, Morgan and Sainsbury in the melee. The court accepted Bell's behaviour was not as bad as his co-offenders.

All-in: Bell, (white hat), joins mates Campbell, Morgan and Sainsbury in the melee. The court accepted Bell's behaviour was not as bad as his co-offenders.

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