Couple spared prison for gas station brawl

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A couple who drove a car into a man during a public fight, escaped jail after agreeing to pay his doctor’s bills.

Tiffany Butterfield, 30, and Ki-Won Butterfield, 33, admitted they attacked taxi driver Dwight Booth at a Hamilton Parish gas station on June 29.

Magistrates’ Court heard how the two men fought with windshield wipers as Ms Butterfield, clutching the couple’s baby, drove a car into Mr Booth and knocked him to the ground.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo condemned the brawl as “terrible behaviour in a public place” and “animal-like”, but deemed the offence unlikely to recur.

The pair yesterday apologised to the court and agreed to cover the $4,437 in medical bills incurred by their victim.

Crown counsel Maria Sofianos said Mr Booth stopped at the Blue Hole gas station for cigarettes and water.

He was struck twice in the face upon exiting the store, and fell. He recognised his attacker as Mr Butterfield, of Ord Road, Paget, whom he had known for several years.

The two men fought. Mr Butterfield attempted to kick Mr Booth, who struck back.

Ms Sofianos said Mr Butterfield ran toward a car where Ms Butterfield, standing with a baby in her arms, shouted: “Let’s go, police are coming.”

Mr Booth tried to stop his assailant from escaping, and the two men began fighting with windshield wipers.

The court heard Mr Butterfield then ran into the main road, pursued by Mr Booth.

Ms Butterfield got into the car and drove out the exit, saying: “I’m going to hit this f***ing guy, I’m going to kill this f***ing guy.”

Mr Booth was bleeding by this point, Ms Sofianos said.

He threw a rock and struck Mr Butterfield in the face as he advanced with a windshield wiper. Ms Butterfield then hit Mr Booth with the car, and he fell to the ground.

Ms Sofianos said the two men were still fighting when police arrived. Mr Butterfield only stood down after police threatened to Taser him.

The car driven by Ms Butterfield was said to have a dent in the bonnet and blood on it.

The victim was taken to King Edward VII Memorial for treatment while the two accused were arrested. Each refused to comment when interviewed by police the following day.

Mr Booth suffered bruises and abrasions. He told police he had suffered from hip and back trouble since the attack.

Mr Butterfield was charged with serious assault with intent to avoid arrest, while Ms Butterfield was charged with serious assault with intent to commit a felony.

According to the Crown, the maximum sentence for the charges was three years’ imprisonment, a $3,000 fine, or both.

Ms Sofianos called Mr Butterfield “the instigator” and argued that cases in which young males are involved in serious violence are becoming “all too prevalent”.

She noted the pair’s early guilty plea on October 12, and requested they be given 12 to 18 months in jail.

Mr Butterfield’s lawyer, Justin Williams, said the two have a ten-month-old and a three-year-old together.

Attorney Shade Subair said the two were unmarried, but a long-term couple and that her client had gone to the defence of her partner.

Ms Butterfield witnessed her partner in a “bloody confrontation” and thought the complainant was “going to kill Mr Butterfield”, Ms Subair stated.

She described the attack as “a very unfortunate one-off”. Both lawyers requested non-custodial sentences.

Mr Tokunbo called the offences “serious ones, involving violence in a public place”.

“It’s the two of them, at the end of the day, ganging up against an individual and causing various injuries to this person.

“You’re fortunate that those injuries only resulted in what has been enumerated. You could have faced more serious charges.”

Mr Tokunbo sentenced Mr Butterfield to three months’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, while Ms Butterfield received six months, also suspended for a year.

Both were given a year’s probation, and ordered to repay Mr Booth’s medical expenses by May 16.

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Published Jan 17, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 12:40 am)

Couple spared prison for gas station brawl

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