Fatal punch after drunken argument over woman lands man in jail

A man who punched another man in a drunken argument over a woman and left him knocked out beside a road has been jailed for nine years over his rival's death.

Daryl Rivett punched Lamin Masterton-Bojang four times in the face early on December 19 last year in Overton Road, Frankston, not long after the associates left the home of Rivett's ex-partner.

Mr Masterton-Bojang fell backwards and hit his head on the ground. Prosecutors conceded that it was this impact, rather than Rivett's punches, that caused a fatal brain injury.

Rivett dragged the injured man off the road and about an hour later called triple zero from a pay phone to anonymously report Mr Masterton-Bojang was unconscious and lying near some bushes.

Mr Masterton-Bojang, a 53-year-old father of six who was raised in The Gambia and came to Australia after some years living in Sweden, died in hospital three days later.

Rivett handed himself into police in the hours after the assault and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Supreme Court heard on Thursday that Rivett drank five litres of cask wine in the hours before visiting the house, where former partner Rose Loredo was talking and drinking with Mr Masterton-Bojang.

"I know you two are screwing," Rivett told the pair. But Mr Masterton-Bojang said, "I love you, bro. I wouldn't do this to you, bro."

Ms Loredo advised the pair to go outside to "cool off", and the men left the house, but Rivett punched the other man soon afterwards. Mr Masteron-Bojang had spent the previous night drinking at a local pub.

Justice Michael Croucher, in jailing Rivett for six years before he is eligible for parole, acknowledged the 54-year-old was remorseful, co-operated with police and dragged the man off the road. There was no evidence to suggest Mr Masterton-Bojang would have survived had he been helped earlier.

But Justice Croucher said Rivett was callous in leaving his rival, that his actions needed condemnation and that his criminal past – including convictions for at least 20 acts of violence – meant there was a need to protect the community.

The judge said Mr Masterton-Bojang's death devastated family members and friends.

"His loved ones speak of sitting with him, holding his hand and kissing him, while he lay in a hospital bed, every part of his face and head swollen, surviving only on life support," he said.

"His children cling desperately to happy memories, but are tormented by the loss of the chance for many more."

Rivett, a father of three, grew up in an abusive and chaotic household, the court heard, was bullied at school and had long-running alcohol and drug problems.

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