A Towradgi man who bashed a pub patron with bar stools following a jibe about a plush teddy bar has been jailed for at least four months.
A nervous looking Sam Gallo fiddled with his hands in his lap as he sat in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday waiting to learn his sentence for his violent, drunken actions on the evening of February 11 last year.
Court documents said the victim, Michael Grose, had arrived at the Corrimal Hotel at 8.15pm with a friend and had just ordered his first drink when he was approached by Gallo and his mate, 20-year-old Kyle Philip.
The pair noticed Grose had hold of a plush teddy bear - a present for a friend - and began hassling him, repeatedly touching and poking the bear despite Grose asking them to stop.
One eventually said "what's your teddy bear's name them?", to which Grose's friend replied "yeah, it's name is 'f--k all of you'", igniting an all-in brawl.
Grose was twice wrestled to the ground; the first time he managed to get back to his feet, however was then met with a barrage of punches from Gallo, and the pair both fell back on the floor.
Gallo, who was the first to his feet, picked up two bar stools in quick succession, holding them above his head and bringing them down on Grose.
Grose deflected one of the blows with his arm, however the other hit him in the face, leaving a bloody gash just above his left eyebrow.
The force of one of the blows caused one of the bar stool seats to snap in half.
The hotel manager came to Grose's rescue, ushering him and his friend behind the bar for their protection, prompting Gallo and Philip to flee the scene.
The pair was later identified and arrested. Both have since pleaded guilty to a charge of affray. Philip has already been sentenced to eight months' jail.
In court on Wednesday, defence lawyer Cate Doosey claimed Gallo had a background of "extreme disadvantage" and had been acting out of fear when he carried out the attack.
She sought leniency on Gallo's behalf, asking the court to spare him a full-time jail sentence.
However, Magistrate Roger Clisdell found Gallo's behaviour warranted time behind bars.
"His role in relation to the affray was in my view substantial," Magistrate Clisdell said.
"It can't be said he was in any way a minor player - this is an extremely serious alcohol-related pub brawl.
"The victim was simply at the pub having a drink waiting to see someone, and he ends up in hospital getting stitches through no fault of his own."
Gallo has lodged an appeal against the sentence.