Appearing from the Melbourne remand centre via videolink, Nolan sat quietly as his lawyers told the court they had difficulty understanding the genesis of the dispute that led to the death of Mr Boothey – the accused’s low IQ playing a significant part in their confusion.
Nolan’s intellectual disability had defined his entire life, his barrister Marcus Dempsey told the court. From a young age he had abused alcohol and on the day he struck Mr Boothey, Nolan had been consuming ice.
Nobody had visited Nolan in prison, Mr Dempsey said.
The court was told doctors suspected Nolan may have suffered from a foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and that the severity of his intellectual disability combined with PTSD stemming from childhood trauma had characterised multiple incidents of violence over the course of his life.
Junior prosecutor Angela Moran read victim impact statements from Mr Boothey’s sister, Tracy Christou, who said that her brother’s adult son was so bereaved by the loss of his fatherthat he took his own life.
“My family have been through not only the loss of my beautiful brother … but our nephew … who unfortunately took his own life because he couldn’t deal with the loss of his father,” Ms Moran recounted in court.
Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC said Nolan’s offending was aggravated by the fact that he was younger than Mr Boothey, that the victim was not acting aggressively and that the victim was vulnerable due to his own intoxication.
“At the end of the day here, a man was killed at four o’clock on a Monday afternoon … by an act of violence by the accused who was behaving aggressively and who had only just been released from custody,” he said.
Witnesses told police that after hitting Mr Boothey, Nolan repeatedly said “I told you so,” before collecting an alcoholic drink and walking back into the plaza with his girlfriend.
Supreme Court judge Lesley Taylor said the incident presented a “particularly difficult” task in sentencing Nolan, and that she would reserve her decision while he remained in prison.
David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.