A man who punched another patron at a regional pub “without any real provocation” – leaving the victim with severe traumatic head injuries – has been jailed for least one year and eight months.

James Bodie, 28, had been drinking at the Cornucopia Hotel in Wallaroo on AFL Grand Final day in September 2022 when he assaulted the victim.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Anthony Allen – who released CCTV of the incident — said Bodie’s actions demonstrated the inherent danger of one-punch attacks.

“Your offending is demonstrative of the catastrophic and ongoing adverse effects that single punch assaults can have,” he said.

He said the victim had jumped on tables and started yelling at everyone to leave prior to the assault.

As patrons gathered in the beer garden about closing time at 1:30am, Judge Allen said the victim approached a “heavily intoxicated” Bodie while he sat at a wine barrel with friends.

James Bodie punched then pushed the victim, who hit a nearby pole as he fell to the ground.(Supplied: SA District Court)

He said the pair had a “brief exchange” which included the victim touching Bodie on the back.

“It was at this point that you unnecessarily and rapidly escalated the situation,” Judge Allen said.

“You punched the victim to the right side of his head.

“The victim stumbled and you pushed him in the chest causing him to hit his head on a nearby pole as he fell to the ground.”

Judge Allen said the CCTV footage of the incident revealed that “the force of your instantaneous and virtually unavoidable strike rendered the victim unconscious on his feet”.

“His legs buckled underneath him and, somewhat fortuitously, the victim striking the pole before the pavement appears to have, at least to some extent, broken his otherwise unbroken fall before his head struck the ground.”

Bodie walked away after delivering the blow.

He later pleaded guilty to a charge of recklessly causing serious harm.

“You acted without any real provocation, nor did you respond to any threat of danger,” Judge Allen said.

“What you did was inherently dangerous and is an affront to any patron socialising at licensed premises.”

James Bodie pleaded guilty in the Disrict Court to a charge of recklessly causing serious harm.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

The victim was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he was initially treated in the intensive care unit, having suffered “severe traumatic head injuries” and a brain bleed.

Judge Allen said the “significant and ongoing adverse impacts” of the crime on the victim included cognitive problems such as short-term memory loss, balance issues and concentration and attention problems.

He said the victim also suffered chronic pain, brain fog and confusion and had not been able to return to work.

“He has lost his ability to live independently,” Judge Allen said.

Judge Allen said Bodie, who has no memory of the incident, had been drinking heavily in the lead up to the offence after losing two family members but had since ceased drinking.

He said there was “absolutely no need” for Bodie’s behaviour on the night.

“You may have been affected by liquor and agitated by the victim’s behaviour but that is not an excuse for the total loss of self-control you exhibited,” he said.

Judge Allen said the only appropriate penalty for Bodie’s actions was an immediate jail term.

After a discount for his guilty plea, Judge Allen jailed Bodie for three years, one month and 25 days.

Bodie will be eligible to apply for parole in March 2026.