A violent 23-year-old man convicted of causing severe brain damage to a father of two pumped his fist in apparent celebration yesterday as a District Court judge jailed him for 2½ years for an unnecessary “knockout blow”.
Dylan Edward Ghilardi could be free by January if he is granted parole because of time already served, a situation relatives of his victim, Ken Akers, described as shocking.
Ghilardi punched Mr Akers, knocking him unconscious, outside a Kwinana service station in April last year after the 50-year-old confronted him and his friends about crude remarks made about his daughters.
The court was told the comments were along the lines of calling the pair, aged 16 and 19, “sl…” and saying they looked like tramps.
Ghilardi was convicted in March of causing Mr Akers grievous bodily harm after a district court jury rejected his claim that he was acting in self-defence when he punched the older man.
Judge Anthony Derrick told Ghilardi yesterday he believed Ghilardi wanted to hurt Mr Akers for daring to challenge the trio about the derogatory remarks.
Ghilardi or one of his friends made the remarks from the car but instead of driving away when Mr Akers yelled at them, they stopped and Ghilardi got out and adopted a “fighting stance”.
Judge Derrick said Ghilardi was younger and stronger and under no real threat from Mr Akers. During the confrontation, both men threw ineffective punches before Ghilardi punched Mr Akers to the face with “as much force as he could muster”, a blow so powerful it fractured his skull.
Mr Akers fell to the ground unconscious and hit his head on the pavement. Ghilardi and his friends then drove away.
The two groups had crossed paths as Mr Akers waited for a taxi with his daughters Brece and Sherry-Lee outside the service station, where an alcohol-affected Ghilardi and his friends were buying soft drinks.
Mr Akers’ sister Christine, who did not want her surname revealed, said Mr Akers’ attempt to stand up for his daughters had instead fractured their relationship.
She said, understandably, they wanted to be his daughters not his carers and found it too hard to live with him because of his high needs.
Christine described the sentence as too low and said it would not deter others from such senseless violence.
Ghilardi has previous convictions for violence.
A man who knocked a 50-year-old father unconscious outside a Kwinana service station, causing him severe and permanent head injuries, has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years' jail.
Dylan Edward Ghilardi, then 22, punched Ken James Akers after the 50-year-old confronted him and his friends over derogatory comments one of them made about his teenage daughters.
The blow was so hard it fractured Mr Akers' skull and he suffered life-threatening injuries when he fell and hit his head on the road.
Ghilardi was convicted of grievous bodily harm after a jury trial earlier this year.
Ghilardi was in a car with two other men at the BP service station in Kwinana on April 24 last year when he crossed paths with Mr Akers and his teenage daughters Brece and Sherry-Lee Bulman-Akers.
Another man, Allan David Bragg, was with the family after meeting them at a Rockingham bar earlier the same night.
One of the young men yelled derogatory comments at the teenage girls, along the lines of calling them "sl..." and saying they looked like tramps.
Mr Akers "reasonably" became angry and yelled abuse at the trio, with Mr Ghilardi, who got out of a car before a physical confrontation ensued.
Mr Akers, 50, threw ineffective punches, which the prosecution said were in a bid to protect himself, before Ghilardi punched him in the face and he fell to the ground unconscious.
At trial Prosecutor Brad Hollingsworth told the court "what began with juvenile stupidity and insolence escalated into a pointless and unnecessary confrontation that fuelled a level of violence which was both extreme and avoidable".
Witnesses said Ghilardi was "bouncing around on the side of the road with his fists up in a fighting stance" before Mr Akers was punched and fell to the ground.
The sentence has been backdated to October 1, 2013, and Ghilhardi is eligible for parole.
Mr Akers' sister Christine said her family were very disappointed with the sentence and it would fail to deter others from committing similar violent acts.
She said her brother did not remember the attack and could not understand that he had a head injury.
Christine said Ghilardi had not apologised for the attack and she did not believe he was remorseful.