A YOUNG Perth footballer who was drunk when he punched a teenager in the face, causing serious injuries, has been spared an immediate prison sentence.
Rhyce Bailey Butcher Corney, then aged 18, was in Dunsborough for school leavers celebrations on November 20 last year when his friends and another group became embroiled in a dispute.
Butcher Corney claimed he was startled by another teenager, who suddenly appeared to the side of him, and took a swing, the District Court of WA heard on Monday.
He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm and was sentenced on Tuesday to 15 months in prison, suspended for 20 months with strict conditions.
Defence counsel Linda Black previously said her client, who has played football for the Swan Districts colts, pleaded guilty and had been “to hell and back” since the incident.
The court heard Butcher Corney was on bail for this offence earlier this year when police saw him throw a bottle in the direction of his girlfriend following an argument.
It resulted in him spending 78 days in prison until the charge was downgraded and he was fined $500.
Ms Black said Butcher Corney was terrified in prison and has had a wake-up call of his life.
Referring to the victim impact statement, Judge Stephen Lemonis said the teenager suffered trauma and still had numbness in his face.
Judge Lemonis accepted Butcher Corney was genuinely remorseful and had taken steps for rehabilitation.
But general deterrence was also a significant factor, he added.
“You came very close today to going back to prison,” Judge Lemonis said.
The judge warned Butcher Corney that if he breached his conditionally suspended sentence it would be “almost inevitable” that he would return to prison.