A former world champion boxer has scored a win in court after he was sentenced to jail time for punching a Chemist Warehouse security guard multiple times during a dispute about Covid face masks.
Gairy St Clair appeared confident and calm when he fronted Sydney Downing Centre District Court on Friday to appeal his sentence.
The 47-year-old was sentenced in October for repeatedly punching a man in the head outside the pharmacy.
The court documents reveal the dispute started when a security guard asked St Clair to properly fit his face mask while inside a pharmacy in Miranda on September 2, 2021.
The former International Boxing Federation Junior Lightweight World Champion adjusted his mask once but refused to do so a second time when it fell down.
He walked up to the guard and stood close to him, the police facts state.
“Let’s go outside … so I can fix you up,” St Clair told the guard, according to the agreed facts.
The security guard asked the former boxing champion to leave three times before he put his hands on St Clair’s waist and escorted him out of the store.
Once outside, St Clair punched the guard in the head at least four times in what he argued was self defence.
“He pushed me … it was self defence,” the former lightweight title told police.
“I’m a fighter, I punched him”.
During the police interview, St Clair said he was unable to properly wear his mask because of allergies and denied telling the security guard to step outside.
The former boxing titleholder was represented in court by his former competitor, ex-world champion boxer Lovemore Ndou.
He told the court St Clair was under great stress at the time of the incident because his business, the Gairy St Clair Boxing Fitness Gym, had been severely impacted by Covid.
Mr Ndou argued the sentence imposed on his client was excessive given his client’s minimal criminal record and his extensive charity work.
The crown prosecutor agreed St Clair had a limited criminal history and had not reoffended since the altercation at the pharmacy.
“The court may be of the mind that the three months imprisonment was too severe and the Crown would not be heard against that,” she said.
Judge Mark Williams noted the former boxing champion’s “powerful subjective case”.
“He’s put a lot of money back into the community. He’s done a lot of charity work,” he said.
The judge dismissed the original sentence of three months imprisonment and replaced it with a three month community corrections order.
Outside court, St Clair and Mr Ndou wore huge grins as they celebrated the legal victory.
Smiling from ear to ear, they hugged each other and posed for pictures as St Clair held up his fist in a cheeky nod to his sporting prowess.
St Clair rose to international prominence when he represented Guyana at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
He became International Boxing Federation Junior Lightweight World Champion in July 2006, but lost the titles a few months later.
The 47-year-old boxed in 60 bouts before competing in his final professional match in 2013.
He was inducted into the Australian Boxing Hall of Fame last year.