Boss hits man who ‘slacked off’ in job

WHAT started as dispute over performance at work turned ugly when a man was punched three times on the side of his head.

Gerard Laurence Byrne, who is based in Brisbane, pleaded guilty to assaulting one of his workers - a diesel fitter - while they were working at a railway construction site in the Bowen Basin.

Yesterday, the Mackay Magistrates Court was told Byrne's business, GLB Quarrying and Logistics, had been contracted to build a railway for coal trains. In 2011, he heard his crew near Collinsville wasn't performing up to scratch, the court heard.

Byrne's defence barrister Russell Clutterbuck said there would have been a significant financial penalty if his company was found not to be performing, so his client went to the site.

Mr Clutterbuck said Byrne noticed the victim was "slacking off".

"My client decided he had to micro-manage," Mr Clutterbuck told the court, and added that this caused upset amongst the employees.

"It got to the stage where things were getting heated," the barrister said.

Prosecutor James Grehan said that on May 8, 2011 Byrne approached the dining room at the workers camp and spoke to the victim about his quality of work.

The victim offered to pack his bags and leave but Byrne told him not to worry.

About half an hour later, Byrne asked to speak to the victim outside.

A verbal altercation occurred and Byrne punched the victim on the side of the face three times.

Mr Clutterbuck said Byrne "lost his cool".

He also said the victim had been back-chatting and had made threats, including that he was a bikie and could "sort him out".

Mr Clutterbuck said Byrne regretted hitting the victim.

Magistrate Ross Risson said Byrne had a limited criminal history and chose not to record a conviction.

He was fined $300.

"Obviously dealing with your industrial problems with violence has only gotten you before the court," Mr Risson said.


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