On Thursday, 24-year-old plumber Jai Ryan pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful assault following a homophobic attack on Melbourne barber Mykey O’Halloran at his Phillip Island home. Ryan is now on a one-year conduct bond and has been fined $ 2,500 to Thorne Harbor Health.
As previously reported by Star Observer, Ryan verbally attacked O’Halloran over his plans to paint his new Phillip Island home in the colors of the rainbow.
the Sun Herald reported that Magistrate Marita Altman, in a scathing judgment, called Ryan’s actions “uneducated, ignorant and breathless stupid.”
“You are a white, straight, cisgender male. You have all the privileges in the world, ”said the magistrate.
“Gay people are everywhere,” said Altman, “they work in the courts, the police force – our community is beautifully diverse.”
Ryan said gay people ‘freak him out’
the The Korumburra Magistrates’ Court had learned that Ryan had threatened O’Halloran and used homophobic slurs against him. “See what happens if you do (paint your house) you gay asshole,” Ryan allegedly shouted, adding “fucking queer asshole,” before his friends drag him out.
Following his arrest, Ryan was questioned by police and admitted to being on O’Halloran’s property the night of the attack. He denied threatening or harming O’Halloran. Ryan reportedly told police he was angry because he had had a “shitty day at work” and didn’t like gay people because they “scared him”. He claimed that a rainbow house in the neighborhood would “devalue his property.”
In April, O’Halloran said Star Watcher that March 16e attack “was really shocking and traumatic and a total invasion of my personal space. Five men entered my property at around ten to twenty and were shouting homophobic slurs and telling me not to paint the rainbow in my house. One of them even threatened to come back and kill me if I painted my house.
After news of the attack went viral, the local community of Phillip Island and Gippsland rallied around O’Halloran and helped him paint his house in the colors of the rainbow.
“One-off isolated incident”
Ryan’s lawyer, Rebecca Fairthorne, reportedly claimed he “was under stress at work at the time of the attack.”
“He learned a lot of information from the community about the property decorating project. The plans weren’t clear and he was very concerned about the impact on his property.
In his victim impact statement, O’Halloran told the court the attack reduced bullying and assault related to childhood trauma in high school. O’Halloran said that following the incident, he had nightmares about Ryan.
Ryan’s attorney argued that this was a one-time, isolated incident. “He cannot change the conduct of the night but in an attempt to move forward, he apologized to the victim,” added the lawyer.
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