STOKE – A kick to the head is the "natural reaction" for a soccer player when dealing with conflict, according to an Australian defense lawyer cited by The Courier-Mail Tuesday.
Solicitor Ripley Perkins told the Magistrates Court in Gympie, 111 miles (180km) north of Brisbane, that soccer training was the reason his 17-year-old client had knocked out a student in an "altercation gone terribly wrong."
"A kick would be a natural movement for a soccer player," he said.
Student Jacob Day faced court charged with assault occasioning bodily harm after kicking another student on the side of the head at a bus stop on March 28.
Witnesses told police Day had approached the victim at the bus stop after school and said, "I heard you want to fight me," to which the victim responded that he did not want a fight. But Day then executed a "martial arts-style kick" to the victim's head, witnesses told police.
Police prosecutor Lisa Manns said the 16-year-old victim was knocked unconscious in the "vicious attack," and has since required medical treatment -- including a CAT scan.
Magistrate John Parker said the kick was a "cowardly blow" and "disgusting thing to do."
"A kick to the head is not a natural reaction for any sportsperson," he said.
"No decent soccer player I've ever known in my time would kick someone to the head."
Day was given 12 months' probation at Monday's hearing and ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid community service.