First appeared in The Riverine Herald, March 15 2017
A MAN who ripped facial hair from a security guard in an alcohol-fuelled attack in Echuca has been condemned by a Ballarat magistrate.
Matthew Mullane, of Ballan, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Friday charged with unlawful assault, being drunk in a public place and failing to leave a licensed venue.
The 22-year-old attended Echuca’s Shamrock Hotel on October 8 last year with three friends, when a minor incident occurred on the dance floor, resulting in two of his friends being ejected from the building.
Mullane and a second friend proceeded outside to the footpath, before the four men collectively forced their way back into the premises past two security guards.
The court heard security guards and hotel staff grappled with the four men for about five to 10 minutes in an attempt to eject them from the building again.
Mullane grabbed one of the security guards by the shirt, but in the process ripped the victim’s security guard badge as well as part of his facial hair.
Police attended the scene and the four men were arrested and taken to Echuca police station where they were placed in the cells for four hours.
Upon attending the police station, Mullane pulled the security card badge and part of the victim’s facial hair from his pocket.
On December 12, Mullane was interviewed at Bacchus Marsh police station, where he made full admissions to the brawl, stating the incident was a ‘‘drunk and spur of the moment thing’’.
Mullane’s lawyer told the court his client had started drinking about 5.30pm and continued to drink beer and spirits through to about 1am.
He said Mullane had neglected to have dinner and, paired with his high intake of alcohol, had resulted in his inability to make good decisions.
A reference from Mullane’s employer was tendered to the court, which, according to magistrate Ronald Saines, showed Mullane’s behaviour was ‘‘out of character’’.
‘‘The reference indicated, in many ways, a man that is well respected in the workplace and is evidence of your good character,’’ he said.
‘‘However, this behaviour is shameful and unnecessary. Whether you were drunk or not, getting into a scuffle with people whose job it is to assist with security brings you into the criminal justice system with nothing good to come from it’’.
The court appearance comes less than 15 months after he crashed a vehicle into a tree, trapping himself and a passenger.
Referring to Mullane’s alcohol-fuelled car accident, Mr Saines said if the accused did not improve his behaviour after drinking alcohol, he might face imprisonment.
Mullane was convicted and fined $1200.
The three co-accused, Robert Conroy, Jack Connor and Ashley Mullane, all from Ballan, received a six-month good behaviour bond on the condition they pay a $500 donation to the court and write a letter of apology to the security guard.