NSW stallion handler attacker 'sorry'

·3-min read

A French national who attacked a stallion handler in a regional NSW pub toilet after they argued over what was Australia's best horse stud has been placed on a 19-month intensive corrections order.

French national Corentin Emile Franck Huens, 28, was working for the Arrowfield horse stud in Scone when he headbutted and glassed stallion handler Keelan Dempsey, 29, from the rival Newgate stud at Aberdeen.

Huens pleaded guilty in the Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday to one charge of reckless wounding after the more serious charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was withdrawn.

Magistrate Peter Barnett rejected claims by Huens that the victim had lunged at him and tried to strangle him before the attack.

Mr Barnett said both men were affected by alcohol when there was a confrontation in the men's toilets at the Willow Tree Hotel at Scone just after 10pm on September 5, 2020.

Huens had been out celebrating his decision to leave Arrowfield with his French girlfriend at the time and a group of friends when he argued with the stallion handler in the toilets over which horse stud was the best.

According to the police statement of facts, Mr Dempsey had about seven or eight schooners of mid strength beer at the Commercial Hotel in Aberdeen before going to the Willow Tree Hotel and meeting his friend, Tommy Keho, a stallion groom at Arrowfield.

Mr Dempsey then joined Mr Keho's group, which included Huens.

Mr Barnett said the argument in the toilet escalated when Huens suddenly head butted Mr Dempsey and hit him a number of times across the head with a schooner glass.

The magistrate said the stallion handler did not realise he had been glassed until he heard the schooner glass smash on the floor.

As Huens left, he told Mr Dempsey: "You will remember me. I am from Arrowfield."

Mr Dempsey, dazed and unable to see who attacked him because of the blood running down his face, went to Scone Hospital for treatment to chipped teeth and a fractured nose.

Huens was not arrested until four months later after admitting to a former Arrowfield work colleague he had glassed Mr Dempsey.

Huens claimed the stallion handler had been hitting on his girlfriend and was being "lippy and mouthy" and refused to stop before he lost his temper.

"What was I supposed to do? I was drunk and I got angry," Huens told the former work colleague.

Mr Dempsey denied acting inappropriately and the magistrate accepted his version of events.

Mr Barnett said he was satisfied the victim was king hit and never saw the attack coming.

The magistrate said he had to have regard to the prevalence of alcohol-fuelled violence in the community, particularly in licensed premises, when sentencing Huens.

However, he accepted the French national, who arrived in Australia in 2019, was sorry for what he had done.

Huens was sentenced to a 19-month intensive corrections order, has to perform 350 hours of community service work and pay the victim $395 compensation for dental work.

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