Brothers avoid jail after 'sickening' head bashing

The Age

Jane Lee

October 4, 2016

 Two brothers have avoided jail for the "sickening" bashing of a Kenyan man on Chapel Street that continued after the victim became unconscious.

James Bruce and his younger brother Matthew punched and kicked the man while he lay on the ground, breaking some of his teeth and leaving him with cuts and bruises.

James Bruce, one of two brothers who bashed a man outside a Chapel Street nightclub. James Bruce, one of two brothers who bashed a man outside a Chapel Street nightclub. Photo: Jason South

The pair had been drinking with their family in June 2015 to celebrate James' new job when the man confronted them outside Revellers Bar in Prahran. He believed James had racially abused him when he heard him say "my nigger".

James, then 20, later told police he had been singing a song containing the phrase, and the prosecution agreed that it was not racially motivated.

Matthew Bruce also attacked the man, the court heard. Matthew Bruce also attacked the man, the court heard. Photo: Jason South

The brothers followed the man, 33, to a nearby car park, where they continued to argue and began pushing each other. The man struck out with his fist. James retaliated, kicking and punching the man in the head and upper body, despite his older brother Oscar's attempts to stop him. Matthew Bruce, then 19, joined in, kicking the victim in the groin, but later also tried to pull James away from the victim.

James Bruce pleaded guilty to intentionally causing injury and affray over the attack. Matthew Bruce pleaded guilty to affray. Oscar Bruce was not charged

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Monday that the victim had told police a day after the attack that he did not think it was racially motivated. He also told police the pair had "made a stupid decision" and said he did not "want to ruin the rest of (his attackers') life" because of it.

Magistrate Carolene​ Gwynn said she was shocked by CCTV footage of the attack, describing it as "sickening and disturbing" and a "cowardly" attack. She described it as a "savage attack on a defenceless man".

Despite having numerous opportunities to stop, James continued attacking the man, even when he knew his victim was no longer conscious, she said.

However, Ms Gwynn said: "I shouldn't allow myself to be so overwhelmed by that footage given other factors".

But she added the community was also "sick" of seeing young men perpetrating alcohol-fuelled street violence and the impact it had on victims, their families and witnesses.

She sentenced James Bruce to a two-year community corrections order, involving 400 hours of community work, and Matthew Bruce to a 14-month order with 200 hours community work. Both were required to be supervised by Corrections Victoria, and to attend programs aimed at reducing future offending.

The magistrate said that youth support worker Gene Bell had said the pair were each ashamed and remorseful about their behaviour and references from their schools and employers had said the attack was out of character. 

Corrections Victoria also said they posed a "low risk of reoffending".

Earlier, prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Tania Fox told the court that anything less than an immediate jail term for James Bruce would be "manifestly inadequate" given his sustained attack on the unconscious man lasted more than a minute.

James' lawyer Domenic Care unsuccessfully applied to suppress further reporting of the case and publication of the brothers' photos. Mr Care said that four men had attacked his client after publicity about his last court appearance.

Georgina Connelly, for Matthew Bruce said her client feared he would also be attacked in future.

Ms Gwynn refused the application, saying that there was not a sufficient connection between the media coverage and the alleged attack.

Scottish backpacker knocks out bouncer

Herald Sun

Padraic Murphy

A BEANPOLE Scottish backpacker who knocked-out cold a burly bouncer has escaped conviction after a magistrate accepted he had been brutally and unnecessarily evicted from a nightclub.

Harry Brown, 23, was at Lonsdale Street’s Wah Wah Lounge nightclub on May 22 when was set upon by a group of aggressive bouncers — including the victim — and thrown out, receiving several shirt punches to the head.

A drunk Brown returned to the club several minutes later and decked the bouncer with one punch, leaving the him lying prone with a fractured eye socket.

Harry Brown outside court. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Brown, whose working holiday visa expires today, begged Magistrate Luisa Bazzani to allow him to return home without conviction so he can pursue a career with the Scottish police, for which he volunteers.

Defence lawyer George Balot said Brown was deeply ashamed and had written a letter of apology.

“He engaged in one punch he will regret for the rest of his life ... He’s a person who always wants to give to the community ... He cannot understand, he cannot rationalise that he has behaved in the way that he has,” Mr Balot said.

Ms Bazzani this morning said one punch assaults needed to be denounced, but that it was not in the community’s interest to prevent Brown from pursuing a policing career, fining him $5000 without conviction.

“He was set upon by security guards including the victim,” Ms Bazzani said.

“He was forcibly evicted. He was doing nothing ... (His eviction) was brutish and unnecessarily aggressive.”

Ms Bazzani gave him a month to pay the heavy fine.

“The possible implications of one hit punches is well documented. One punch can kill,” Ms Bazzani.

Brown pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and failing to leave a licensed premises.

He has been in Australia for about a year, working as a concierge at a Marriott hotel.

Should Scottish Police reject his employment application, Brown hopes to study criminology

Girl 8 suffers critical head injury

A YOUNG girl is in a critical condition after she was seriously injured in another nasty mishap involving a horse.

The victim, believed to be aged about 8, may have been kicked by the horse at Kyabram this evening.

She was flown to the Royal Children’s Hospital with a head injury, where she remains in a critical condition.

It is the third such case in the space of two days.

Earlier today a woman was flown to hospital after a horse reportedly kicked her in Victoria’s east.

The incident occurred at Darnum, about 110km from Melbourne, just before 1.30pm.

The woman, believed to be aged in her 40s, was taken to hospital in Warragul.

She was later transferred to an ambulance helicopter and flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Her condition was not yet known.

The incident comes after a boy, believed to be aged just three, was left fighting for life when a horse kicked him at a property near Ballan.

His condition has improved and he is stable in the Royal Children’s Hospital.


Boy kicked in the head

The Age

Cholie Booker16 August 2016


A toddler has been flown to hospital after reportedly being kicked in the head by a horse in Victoria's north-west.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said the child had been airlifted to the Royal Children's Hospital from Ballan about 12.30pm on Tuesday.


JUST IN: A toddler has been airlifted to hospital after being kicked in the head by a horse in Ballan.

Police hunt two men for bashing man unconscious

The Age

Brodie Carmody

August 10 2016

Police are hunting two men after a vicious assault on one of Melbourne's busiest tram lines left a North Fitzroy man with a fractured skull.

The 27-year-old victim was waiting for a tram on Nicholson Street, close to the Brunswick Road intersection, around 9.20pm on 13 May

CCTV: Have you seen these men?

Police have released CCTV footage to identify two men after a man was seriously assaulted on Nicholson St in Brunswick East about 9.20pm on May 13.

He noticed two men in a Toyota Supra at nearby traffic lights, and suspects they were watching him for some time. 

The two men got out of the car and chased him to the front entrance of a Nicholson Street convenience store.

Police are searching for the two men pictured after an assault in East Brunswick that left a man unconscious.
Police are searching for the two men pictured after an assault in East Brunswick that left a man unconscious. Photo: supplied

Both men punched the victim in the head, before he fell to the ground. He was then kicked and fell unconscious.

The 27-year-old was taken to hospital with a fractured skull after a staff member at the convenience store called emergency services.

Police have released CCTV footage of the alleged perpetrators.

One of the men is described as Southern European in appearance, in his twenties and with facial hair. At the time of the incident he was wearing a black jacket, black pants and Converse shoes.

The victim was kicked unconscious while waiting for the 96 tram on Nicholson Street.
The victim was kicked unconscious while waiting for the 96 tram on Nicholson Street. Photo: Georgia Matts

The other man is described as Caucasian, also in his twenties and of solid build. He was wearing a Chicago Bulls cap, black jacket, blue jeans and purple sneakers at the time of the bashing.

Police are urging anyone who recognises the two men to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.