A Wollongong District Court judge has criticised a Steelers Club security guard for attacking a man who was trying to escort his drunk mate out of the venue.
Judge Paul Conlon claimed the Wollongong club's security guard had "way overreacted" when he grabbed the man, who was attempting to manoeuvre his boozy friend from the premises, and hurled him into a concrete pillar.
"People employed at clubs need to understand they must do things appropriately," he said.
"I understand they are in very difficult positions, [dealing with] drunk, violent people but there was no indication [in this case] that anyone wanted to inflict violence on bar or security staff."
The judge's comments came during a conviction appeal yesterday for Corrimal man Brent Graeme Austin, who was found guilty in the local court of assaulting the guard after he intervened in the altercation and tried to pull the bouncer off his friend.
Defence barrister Jane Healey argued Austin acted in self-defence, "doing what he had to do" when he saw his mate being thrown into the pillar. She said the guard had bitten Austin on the hand during the altercation.
Allowing the appeal, Judge Conlon rejected Crown solicitor Lachlan McGonigal's claims that the security guard had "slipped", causing the man to fall on to the pillar. "It didn't look like a slip, it looked like a slam," the judge said.
"[The guard] would have known what was in the foyer ... he was slammed into [the pillar]."
The judge also disagreed with assertions the security guard was simply exercising his duty to remove the intoxicated person. "[The bouncer] could have simply picked up the bloke and escorted him outside," he said.
"Merely holding a position of authority within [a] club does not allow [a person] to conduct themselves in this way."
Judge Conlon also disregarded evidence the men had told club staff they "weren't f---ing going" when they were asked to leave.
"This was not the action of an intoxicated person looking for trouble ... there was no concern by anyone there that Austin was not leaving the club at that point.
"This was a way overreaction by club staff in my view."
CCTV footage of the incident clearly depicted a man escorting his drunk friend to the club's foyer about 3am on February 27.
Austin, 23, was heading outside when he saw the security guard grab his mate and throw him into a pillar, the court was told.
Judge Conlon said Austin then appeared to try to defuse the situation, grabbing the guard to get him away from his friend. He quashed Austin's convictions for common assault and failing to leave the premises.