Common Assault in NSW

Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

Image credit: Petar B photography

 

It was the shocking moment a vicious assault took place in the middle of the night between a group of adult men and two teenage girls in Sydney’s Pirrama Park in Pyrmont.

On Saturday 6th March 2021, as Mardi Gras celebrations were underway, police officers were called to Pirrama Park after a horrified witness saw several men repeatedly hit and kick two girls before throwing one of them over a ledge.

Confronting footage of the attack was captured by a witness who understood the group of men were “having a go” at a group of young boys when the two girls intervened to help before the argument escalated however became involved in a verbal argument with the men.

According to the footage, the brawl suddenly erupted after one of the girls hit the men.

From here, the men allegedly punched and kicked the girls, who can be heard screaming at them to stop.

At a later point, one of the men dragged one of the girls by the hair and then stomped on her, while another teen was allegedly shoved into a stair rail and pushed to the ground.

The two girls, aged 15 and 16, experienced concussion and headaches, and were taken to hospital for treatment.

Addressing the incident, Acting Superintendent Paul Dunstan described the alleged assault as “quite abhorrent”.

The girls “were subjected to savage one-punch attacks to the head and face areas,” Acting Superintendent Dunstan said.

“It’s quite abhorrent to see a group of young women out enjoying the night in the CBD to be set upon by men, in their 20s no less, in such a horrid, vicious way.

“It is very, very disturbing.”

Acting Superintendent Dunstan also described the alleged attack as “inexcusable”.

Speaking of the men, he said they “had ample opportunity to turn around and walk away”, but they “they chose not to”.

“It can only be described as a violent attack.

“Punching young women in the face … it’s not acceptable.”

The three men, aged 21, 23 and 29, were arrested shortly after the brutal attack and were later charged with common assault and affray.

In NSW, common assault comprises an assault in which an intentional or reckless act on another person takes place, whereby that person is made to feel fear of immediate and unlawful violence or force.

Under the law, such unlawful violence can be established even without physical force actually being applied – and where there is physical force exercised upon a person, the common assault offending increases in seriousness as far as penalties are concerned.

In NSW, section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 outlines a maximum penalty of two years in jail, or a fine of $5,500, or both, for a common assault offence.

Section 61 states, “Whosoever assaults any person, although not occasioning actual bodily harm, is guilty of an offence of common assault”.

 

Court Hears One of the Men Involved in the Brawl Assaulted Another Woman Last Year

On Tuesday 9th March, one of the men involved in the brawl, Jesse MacKenzie, 29, appeared at Central Local Court via video link from Parklea prison and watched on as footage of the brawl was played to the court.

Mr MacKenzie, a Telstra employee from Double Bay, is accused of “stomping” on the 16-year-old-girl involved in the attack and dragging her by the hair.

During the man’s court appearance, it was heard that just days before the alleged offending, he had been placed on a two-year community corrections order for assaulting another woman in August last year.

According to Mr MacKenzie’s lawyer, he was being treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety.

Mr MacKenzie applied for bail, with his lawyer expressing to the court his client claimed he acted in self-defence.

Nevertheless, Magistrate Robert Williams refused the application, citing that Mr MacKenzie had a “lengthy criminal history”, along with being under five community corrections orders presently, had also contravened an apprehended violence order the previous month.

The Magistrate added that given the young ages of the victims, he had taken into account their “vulnerability” as well as the seriousness of the charges.

Magistrate Williams concluded that if convicted, Mr MacKenzie would likely face a prison sentence.

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