A former Australian youth soccer international has learnt his fate for knocking out a patron at the Harp Hotel after he was sent into a rage due to losing on the pokies.
Warrawong man John Mladen Martinoski, who works as a refrigeration mechanic, was sentenced to a 12-month community correction order at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
Tendered court documents state Martinoski started yelling at a poker machine in the venue's gambling area about 10pm on April 1, prompting a nearby patron who was with a friend to ask him to calm down.
"What are you going to do about it?" Martinoski yelled, as he and the patron approached one another.
The patron pushed Martinoski away and Martinoski retaliated by pushing him back, causing the patron to stumble backwards.
A drunk Martinoski then punched the victim twice in the face, causing his body to go limp and fall to the ground.
This spurred a physical altercation between Martinoski's and the victim's friend, while the victim lay motionless on the ground.
Martinoski punched the victim's friend in the face while on top of him, with a witness intervening by kneeing Martinoski.
Security guards arrived as the victim and his friend then picked themselves up from the floor. Venue staff administered first aid to the victim whose left eyebrow had been split open as a result of the attack.
He also experienced pain to his face and throat. Police arrived shortly after and reviewed CCTV footage which captured the entire incident.
Martinoski was arrested two weeks later. He subsequently pleaded guilty to affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.
Magistrate Mark Douglass said the fracas was "relatively short" however emphasised the serious consequence such attacks can have.
"The first murder case I appeared in ... it was two young blokes, one throws a punch, the other falls over and hits his head. Dead," the magistrate said.
"This could have happened on this occasion. That's why courts and police take these offences seriously."
Magistrate Douglass said the actions typically attract a term of imprisonment however noted Martinoski pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and is addressing his underlying gambling issues.
In addition to his community correction order, Martinoski fined $1350 and ordered to perform 75 hours of unpaid community service work.
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