Two men accused of the serious bashing of three men in two separate attacks in Wollongong at the weekend have been granted conditional bail after a magistrate found they did not pose enough risk to community safety to keep them behind bars.
Jonathan Schwenke, 21, and Christian Nau, 23, walked from Wollongong Local Court on Monday morning after spending two nights behind bars over the violent CBD attacks, which occurred 20 minutes apart on Saturday morning and left two of the three victims unconscious.
Acting Magistrate Chris McRobert granted the pair bail on account of their lack of prior offending and apparent remorse, saying he was “somewhat sympathetic” to suggestions they were responding to racial taunts, although said it didn’t excuse their behaviour at all.
The most oppressive condition on their release requires the two men to abstain from drinking alcohol (or taking drugs) while on bail. They must also report to police every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The two friends, described in their first court appearance on Sunday as “clean living Christian boys”, were highly intoxicated when they attacked two men who racially abused them outside Fever Nightclub around 5am.
Schwenke and Nau, who are of Samoan/Maori descent, punched and kicked the victims until one passed out. Nau allegedly kicked the man twice in the head as he lay motionless on the ground before the pair left the scene, walking towards the mall.
They came across their third victim sitting on the Church Street steps and CCTV footage shows brief communication between the trio before Nau allegedly walks behind the victim and kicks him in the head.
Schwenke and Nau then set upon the man, punching, kicking and stomping on his head until he too is rendered unconscious, it is alleged.
When asked in court on Monday what prompted the second assault, Schwenke was at a loss to explain his behaviour and referred only to his police statement in which he said the victim was “being a smartarse”.
The court heard the two men left the victim lying on the ground and made their way to Keira Street, where they are arrested.
The court heard police were unaware of the second bashing at the time of the initial arrest, and Schwenke and Nau were released on police bail later that morning.
Meantime, officers identified Schwenke and Nau as the alleged attackers in the second assault after reviewing CCTV footage.
The pair was arrested at Fever just before 12.30am on Sunday.
In court on Monday, Magistrate McRobert ordered a brief of evidence in both cases and adjourned proceedings to November 16.