Birthday bashers escape jail term
TWO men who went on a drunken and drug-fuelled rampage injuring guests at a 21st birthday party at West Tweed, have walked away from court virtually scot-free. The men, Stephen Allan Taylor, 22, and Lee White, 27, were both involved in vicious fights during the party earlier this year, which left one girl badly injured. Taylor was yesterday convicted on three assault charges and given an 18-month good-behaviour-bond, fined $750 and ordered to pay $880 compensation. White was convicted of assault, drink driving, driving with a cancelled licence and possessing a prohibited drug and stolen goods and given a nine-month suspended jail sentence, disqualified from driving for two years, and fined $426. In facts tendered to court, police said Taylor and White had arrived at the April 10 party drunk and high from smoking cannabis. After more drinks, Taylor pulled a chair out from under 19-year-old Casey Bright, who only months before had undergone surgery to have an absess removed from the base of her spine. Taylor knew of her operation and tackled her to the ground, reopening the wound. Ms Bright's father Phillip Gordon Bright, 54, went to help his daughter and calm Taylor down, but Taylor hit him from behind. A fight ensued between Mr Bright, Taylor and White. Mr Bright put Taylor in a headlock as his daughter raced to help defend her dad. White took a swing at Ms Bright, who swung back in self-defence hitting White's face. Taylor and White were escorted away. Testifying in court, Ms Bright said that after the fight White had stopped her in the house, grabbed her by the arms and spat blood on her saying "you are going to pay". White pleaded not guilty to the assault charge stemming from the incident. He claimed he did not intentionally spit blood on her and that he was just defending himself after she punched him. "All I was trying to do was be the nice guy and break things up. I thought she was going to give me a clock again, I was pouring blood," he said. Taylor pleaded guilty to three counts of assault. His lawyer said he had "pulled his head in" since the incident. White pleaded not guilty to the assault charge and guilty to the other charges. Magistrate Jeff Linden said the event was "disgusting" and that Ms Bright had been forced to "live a miserable life" while waiting for blood test results on the blood that was spat on her.