Wollongong refugee attack: co-accused jailed for 2.5 years

A still from CCTV footage of the attack at Wollongong Train Station.
A still from CCTV footage of the attack at Wollongong Train Station.

The female accomplice of a man who bashed an African refugee outside Wollongong train station last year has been jailed for two and a half years.

Jaimee Lee Haynes, 28, will serve a minimum of 15 months behind bars for her role as lookout in the attack, which left 24-year-old Tumezghi Tesfay requiring stitches in his left ear and dental work care of a broken tooth.

On Thursday, Haynes’ partner in crime, Timothy Phillip Williams, was sentenced to nine years’ jail, with CCTV footage that captured the incident showing Williams brutally punching Mr Tesfay at least 18 times in the frenzied attack.

In giving Haynes the lesser sentence, presiding judge Paul Conlon acknowledged she had played a significantly lesser role in the incident than Williams.

He also accepted that Haynes would have been unlikely to have known the extent of what Williams was planning to do to their unsuspecting victim when she agreed to participate in the robbery.

Judge Conlon was further moved by powerful subjective circumstances put forward by defence lawyers on Haynes’ behalf, including her long history of drug dependence, physical abuse at the hands of former partners and long-standing mental health issues resulting in multiple self harm attempts at various stages in her life.

‘‘The offender has had a most unfortunate upbringing,’’ Judge Conlon said, indicating he was surprised that her first run-in with the law was only in May last year, given others with similar backgrounds too often found themselves before the courts at much earlier ages.

The Mercury is prohibited from publishing further details about Haynes’ subjective circumstances due to legal reasons.

Judge Conlon said in sentencing Williams and Haynes, there was no question that he could not deal with the two in similar ways.

The court heard on Thursday that Williams, by comparison, was a repeat offender who had spent just six months of the past eight years out of jail, and had only been on parole for a month on his most recent violent offence when he bashed Mr Tesfay.

Judge Conlon again spoke of the importance of CCTV in not only capturing the pair, but making sure a true account of what took place that night was presented to the court.

On Thursday he slammed Williams’ attempts to downplay the seriousness of the assault, and his role in it, while speaking to a court-appointed psychologist.

‘‘He provides [the doctor] with a palpably false version of his confrontation and vicious assault on an unsuspecting victim,’’ Judge Conlon said.

‘‘This footage serves to demonstrate the lie to any suggestion that the victim in anyway provoked this altercation.’’

With time already served, Haynes will be released on parole in June next year.

Williams, who was sentenced to a six-month non-parole period, will be eligible for release in 2019.

For more on Williams' sentencing and CCTV footage of the attack click here.

If you are using our iPhone app, you can view footage in the video tab.


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