Numaka Dowling. Picture: Contributed
Numaka Dowling. Picture: Contributed

Man jailed for defending himself against attack

A YOUNG man who was found guilty of using excessive force to defend himself against an attacker had gone on to more violent offences after the 2017 incident and struggles to deal with the death of his mother.

Numaka Dowling was found guilty by a jury in Rockhampton District Court this week of one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed, with a special verdict of being found guilty by way of using excessive force in self-defence.

Dowling, 22, had an altercation with Isaac Perrett in Emu Park on November 26, 2018, about 8.30pm after Mr Perrett approached Dowling and his cousins twice in the evening, allegedly calling them “black c---s” and accusing them of jumping his fence and stealing toys.

Isaac Perrett. Picture: Contributed
Isaac Perrett. Picture: Contributed

Mr Perrett had admitted to drinking 12 beers throughout the day, but alleged Dowling came at him unprovoked when he went outside his property with his dog to tell the group to be quiet.

Read more about Mr Perrett’s version of events here: Victim took dog to meet kids to “put the wind up them”

However, the jury believed Dowling’s version of events where Mr Perrett first swung a piece of wood and a torch at Dowling, causing the torch to flash in Dowling’s eyes.

While Mr Perrett left after the torch was knocked out of his hand and he grabbed the scooter handle Dowling had used to do so, Mr Perrett approached the group a second time that night.

This time, he had his dog Bundy with him and let the dog go which attempted to attack Dowling who shooed the dog away.

“Then we had a bit of a scuffle around, like I swung at him, missed him, hit him on the side of his arm,” Dowling said.

Numaka Dowling. Picture: Contributed
Numaka Dowling. Picture: Contributed

“He was coming at me and I was just back-pedalling towards the road and then I tripped over and that’s when he jumped on top of me and was like pressing on my jaw … sort of pumping into the ground.

“I was holding him, making sure he like couldn’t hit me or anything.

“The dog grabbed ahold of my arm and I just let go of him and I grabbed the dog’s jaw so it couldn’t bite me and that’s when he jumped up and I just grabbed the pole and just whacked him.”

Dowling said Mr Perrett “could have done something else” and that was why he hit him with the pole that second time.

Crown prosecutor Elise Sargent said Dowling had a wilful damage and trespass on his criminal record predating this assault.

She said since the assault, he had been convicted for public nuisance, and another public nuisance in a licensed premises where he punched a person while he was intoxicated and was placed on a banning order

Ms Sargent said Dowling also had an assault occasioning bodily harm on his record which post-dated this Emu Park incident.

She said in that incident, the offenders – which included one of Dowling’s brothers – and the victims were known to each other.

Defence barrister Scott Moon said Dowling lost his mother to cancer when he was 15 and his older brother, Samuel, raised him and other siblings while their father continued to work away as a plant operator and financially support the family.

He said since Dowling left school halfway through year 11 due to struggling to cope with his mother’s death, he had managed to stay employed - first working on a charter boat for four years, then for JRT for 12 months before moving on to work at a piggery in Kingaroy and now for a Central Queensland contractor.

Mr Moon said not only did Dowling have employment, he still had the support of his family and was working on his grief over his mother’s death.

He said Dowling, with the help of his family, was willing to offer to pay up to $4000 compensation to Mr Perrett.

Mr Moon said Dowling was still on probation, had a suspended sentence hanging over his head and would be supervised for 15 more months for the other assault occasioning bodily harm.

He argued an actual time in prison as part of his sentence for this AOBH would send his client backwards in his rehabilitation.

Judge Jeff Clarke adjourned the sentence overnight to consider Mr Moon’s lengthy submissions.

Judge Clarke said, although Mr Moon’s submissions sounded “eloquent”, they were without substance regarding the extent of any expression of remorse by Dowling.

“You smiled when you said you regretted what you had done,” he said.

He said Dowling’s actions were “unduly excessive” and he had not been persuaded that Dowling should not be ordered to serve any time in custody.

Dowling was ordered to 15 months prison with a criminal conviction recorded, two days declared as time served and a parole release date of May 17, 2021.

He was not ordered to pay any compensation.