A DRUNKEN passenger aboard a courtesy bus of a Hervey Bay hotel viciously attacked the driver for not taking him through a bottle shop.
Harvey Victor Lawrence Warner, 29, has avoided serving actual jail time despite hitting the now 51-year-old driver 10 times with the back of his head.
Warner pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court on Friday to assault occasioning bodily harm and theft.
The court heard Warner had tried to take the driver's keys in a desperate attempt to get to the bottle shop.
When he failed, Warner ran away with the injured driver's phone and GPS.
The driver suffered facial cuts and bruising.
The victim was present in court as details of the crime were read out.
Crown Prosecutor Natalie Lima said Warner, who was aged 28 at the time, was enjoying a night out with his friends.
Warner and the driver knew each other because they were part of the same rugby club.
Earlier that night, Warner and two friends asked the 50-year-old to drift from the driving route and drop them off at Scarborough St - a request the driver allowed.
Upon arrival, Warner's two friends got out but Warner insisted on being taken to the bottle shop.
"The complainant said to get off, the defendant said they had to drive through the bottle shop," Ms Lima said.
"The defendant used the back of head to hit complainant 10 times."
The court heard the attack had a long-term impact on the driver.
"He's changed the drop-off locations of the courtesy bus," Ms Lima said.
"He chooses to stop at an area closer to the police station."
Ms Lima said the victim was also uneasy with a "a full bus of people".
Defence Barrister Kylie Hillard said Warner was a "keen rugby player" who would soon be a father.
"He plays with a Maryborough team, he moved (teams) because he doesn't go near the hotels where the incident happened," Ms Hillard said.
"He did two years of a plumbing apprenticeship and spent about five years in the army."
Ms Hillard said her client was a tradesman and was seeking full-time work.
Warner was sentenced to six months imprisonment with immediate parole.
He was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution for the phone.
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