Former feared Mongols president Toby Mitchell has walked free from court after successfully appealing a two-month prison sentence over a slap at a country pub, with a judge telling him that he “clearly” needs more help to deal with his anger management issues.
- The court heard the former Mongols president has since “disassociated” from the group
- The assault by Mitchell at an Echuca hotel in November 2021 was captured on security footage
- The County Court judge agreed to strike down a two-month jail sentence
Mitchell, 47, today appeared in the County Court of Victoria where he successfully convinced Judge George Georgiou to strike down the jail term from a lower court over the incident at the American Hotel in Echuca last year.
The former bikie boss originally pleaded guilty to an assault charge in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court but appealed the sentence immediately.
Judge Georgiou sentenced Mitchell to a 12-month community-based order and fined him $2,000 for not giving investigators the PIN code to his phone after it was seized during a search warrant.
“As you will appreciate, Mr Mitchell, I’m giving you the opportunity to avoid a term of imprisonment,” the judge said.
“You clearly need further professional assistance to deal with your post-traumatic stress disorder, and anger management issues.
“While the victim’s behavior does not justify or excuse the appellant’s conduct, and that a wiser head would’ve walked away, I find that the incident occurred in the heat of the moment without any premeditation.”
The court also heard that Mitchell had since had a “disassociation” from the Mongols.
Pub assault caught on security footage
In November 2021, Mitchell was in Echuca for a charity ride and was celebrating his birthday at the American Hotel when a fight broke out with another patron.
Security footage showed two strikes but lawyers disagreed on what the tapes depicted, with prosecutors describing the first strike as a punch, while Mitchell’s legal team said it was an open slap.
The former bikie left the pub immediately after the incident, but not before asking for the security footage to be deleted.
When investigators later confronted him with the vision, Mitchell said the first blow was an “open-handed slap”, the court heard.
Damian Sheales, who defended Mitchell, told the court that the victim was drunk, had been pestering his client and was making a “nuisance of himself”.
An account from one witness said that the victim “just wouldn’t shut up”.
“I don’t reckon Toby got more than four words in, things heated up very quickly. I had my back turned at the start and by the time I turned around, it was all over,” the man said.
Judge Georgiou said the victim did not make a complaint or give a statement to the police.
“[Mitchell’s] moral culpability is reduced somewhat given the victim’s behavior, particularly in approaching [Mitchell]when [Mitchell] was stepping away from him just before delivery of the first strike,” the judge said.
“[Mitchell] on this occasion lost his temper and struck out at a person who had, in all probability, become a nuisance and was behaving in a provocative manner.”
Mitchell was previously found guilty of unlawful assault in 2004, 2016, 2018 and twice in 2021.
He was twice found guilty of recklessly causing injury in 2001, and once in 2015.
He was found guilty of affray in 2014.
Former bikie since diagnosed with PTSD
Judge Georgiou acknowledged that Mitchell had chronic kidney disease and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress after being shot in 2011 and 2013.
The court heard he suffered from anxiety, flashbacks and “paranoid or defensive or aggressive tendencies in response to perceived threats”, but had finished anger management classes.
The judge also recognized that the former bikie’s bail conditions, which stopped him from attending licensed venues, had been difficult.
“The appellant missed out on attending a number of family events over the Christmas, New Year period and could not attend sporting events including the Australian Open,” he said.
As part of the conditions of the order, Mitchell must not commit another crime.