One of four young Illawarra men charged over the brutal bashing of two men in the Wollongong CBD in June has confessed to his involvement in the attacks.
George Campbell pleaded guilty in Wollongong Court on Tuesday to assault and affray charges stemming from the two incidents, which occurred on Keira Street within minutes of each other in the early hours of June 13.
However, Campbell’s lawyer, Lamar Miakhel, told the court his client disputed some of what police alleged happened on the night and would seek to resolve the differences by way of a disputed facts hearing.
Meantime, Campbell’s co-accused, Christopher Morgan and Jarrod Sainsbury, have pleaded not guilty to the charges and will face a two-day hearing in February.
Campbell’s facts hearing will take place on the same day.
The case of a fourth co-accused, Paul Bell, is still before the court. He is yet to enter a plea.
Police allege to group of friends, all aged in their late teens or early 20s, left the 151 Nightclub just after midnight when Campbell, Morgan and Sainsbury were seen to strike up a conversation with another group of men on the corner of Market and Keira streets.
A few moments later, Campbell allegedly hit one of the men with “a flurry of punches” before Sainsbury and Morgan joined in, allegedly throwing punches over Campbell’s shoulder.
The fight continued across Market Street before coming to an end when all those involved parted ways, police said.
Meantime, police say the second victim was walking along Keira Street with a small group of friends when he is seen to pass Campbell, Sainsbury, Morgan and Bell, apparently without incident or interaction.
However, the CCTV footage allegedly shows Morgan turn around a few moments later and approach the victim in a “discerning and violent manner, throwing his hands in the air and gesturing aggressively”, the court heard on an earlier occasion.
Sainsbury and Campbell quickly move to Morgan’s side, flanking the victim, before Morgan allegedly punches the man in the face.
Police claim the victim is “set upon” by Campbell and Sainsbury while Morgan grabs hold of him in a headlock.
It is alleged Bell joined the fight at this stage, punching the victim once in the face and causing him to fall and fracture his skull on the pavement.
The alleged attackers fled the scene, while bystanders came to the victim’s aid and he was taken to hospital.
A week later police released still images of those wanted for questioning over the assaults. Campbell, Sainsbury, Bell and Morgan handed themselves into police the following day.
All four men are currently on court bail.