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Teen pleads guilty to bashing deaf man
Joshua Bignell leaves court today after pleading guilty to bashing a deaf person. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian

A Kewdale teenager who today admitted to bashing a deaf man, likely causing him permanent eye damage, claimed he was only trying to protect his friend, but conceded he lost his temper and must now prepare for possible jail time.

Joshua William Bignell, 18, pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrate’s Court to an upgraded charge of grievous bodily harm over the attack on 28-year-old deaf Gosnells man Seow Oh near the Oats Street train station in Carlisle on June 11.

The charge was upgraded after the court was told an ophthalmologist had reported Mr Oh’s eye injury would “most likely” be permanent.

Police say Mr Oh was bashed by two people in broad daylight, who kicked and punched him in the face and head after he got off the train.

Outside court, Mr Bignell said he was sorry and did not know about the victim’s disability at the time, but accused Mr Oh of hitting his 15-year-old friend. He said in hindsight he wished he would have walked away.

“It was definitely a provoked attack … he hit my friend, whose a 15-year-old boy and I defended him and from there it just got worse and escalated into a fight,” he said.

“Obviously I lost my temper … yes, I feel sorry for him (Mr Oh). I wish I could take back my actions.”

Mr Bignell said he tried to argue self-defence, but pleaded guilty after receiving legal advice.

“There’s definitely a risk that I could get a prison term for this,” he said. “I’m disappointed in what’s happened … but what I did with my actions I have to go with that, whatever happens happens.”

Mr Bignell will appear in the District Court for a sentence mention in October. His bail, which includes a curfew, was renewed and pre-sentence and psychological reports were ordered ahead of his sentencing.

Mr Oh has previously said he was unsure of the motivation for the attack, saying the two assailants had “just wanted to fight me”. He said the pain he suffered as a result was “10 out of 10”.

The West Australian

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