A Victorian road rage driver has walked free despite punching an aspiring paramedic in the head in an attack that could have killed her.
Attacker Joshua Burke punched his then 23-year-old victim to the face so hard in the November 2018 incident her eye socket broke in two places.
"She could have died and that arsehole in there gets to walk f***ing free today," her father Ed told reporters outside the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
"This sends a very clear message that you can beat women up and you'll get away with it."
The victim, Erin, was in her paramedic uniform on her way back from a placement when Burke cut-her off on the Western Port Highway.
The now 22-year-old had been driving erratically, braking suddenly, and forcing his victim to drive on the wrong side of the road to escape.
Burke then followed her for 10km before confronting the victim when she stopped at Sommerville and he argued with her before he hit her.
The punch knocked her to the ground.
"Where's the justice?" her father asked after Burke was ordered to serve a community corrections order.
But Magistrate Johanna Metcalf admitted she "wrestled" with the decision to impose the order on Burke.
"I have wrestled with this decision and if you let me down...you will be looking at a jail term," Ms Metcalf told Burke.
"People can die from a single punch to the head, if there had been bleeding on the brain that could very easily have been an outcome from your behaviour."
The behaviour was unacceptable and he acted "wholly inappropriately" when he harmed a complete stranger, she added.
The victim was left in "terror and shock" after the incident, Ms Metcalf said.
However the magistrate took into account Burke's early guilty plea, his ongoing mental health issues, lack of prior criminal history and age at the time of the offence.
"I do accept Mr Burke is genuinely remorseful for his behaviour," she said.
She noted he had "anger and impulsivity issues" he needed to bring under control.
Burke pleaded guilty to intentionally causing injury, criminal damage and possessing cannabis and box cutters which were uncovered during a police search.
He was convicted and ordered to serve a 24-month community corrections order, with 300 hours of community service and judicial monitoring.
A fine of $500 was also imposed for possessing drugs and a controlled weapon.
Australian Associated Press