Man jailed for NSW brawl manslaughter

·2-min read

The family of Jesse Vilkelis-Curas watched on in tears as the young man responsible for the fatal punch in northern NSW was jailed for at least five years.

Bryson Larsen-Tai, 20, was sentenced to a total term of seven years and six months after pleading guilty to manslaughter that occurred outside a hotel in East Ballina in 2019.

Judge Warwick Hunt told the Lismore District Court on Friday that Larsen-Tai had suffered a sad and violent upbringing and took these factors into account.

He addressed Mr Vilkelis-Curas's family who wiped tears away as they watched on via video link, saying he did the best he could to balance a lot of difficult things.

"I hope today is another step on the way to a little more healing for you.

"Nothing can fill the wound that you suffer."

The Willmot man was sentenced alongside Tyrese Hickling, 20, who pleaded guilty to affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in the company of others.

Hickling was sentenced to at least three years in jail.

The judge described the attack on Mr Vilkelis-Curas as "stupid and opportunistic" when two groups of friends met outside the hotel despite the "best efforts of security guards".

One person was armed with knuckledusters.

According to medical evidence, their victim likely died from haemorrhaging after his head hit the pavement.

While it was not Larsen-Tai's mission that night to become drunk and aggressive and target people, the sad set of circumstances spiralled out of control, Judge Hunt said.

The court was also told of another vicious and unprovoked assault on a homeless man and then a bystander in Lismore in January 2021.

A juvenile first pushed "Benny" to the ground and delivered a flurry of punches before turning his attention to another man who reprimanded him for the attack.

"Mate that's pretty s*** he was saying he didn't want to fight and was trying to get away," he said.

The juvenile responded, "do you want to f***ing go then?"

Then began a series of assaults where Hickling joined in and kicked the victim three times while he was lying on the ground defenceless.

It was impossible for the judge to determine which offender caused what injuries, including a broken nose.

He escaped and was taken to Lismore hospital and Hickling was arrested a day later.

Larsen-Tai's violent upbringing at the hands of his abusive father from a young age meant his early life was "very unstable,"' the judge said.

He would often try to protect his mother and was later diagnosed with ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

PTSD and substance abuse followed and the judge acknowledged this contributed to his antisocial ways.

However, Hickling is fortunate to have a "supportive mother and grandfather," he said.

Hickling will be first eligible for parole in May 2023.

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