A Wollongong court has been shown dramatic video of a drunken fight at a North Wollongong liquor store sparked by a simple comment about a dropped cigarette butt.
The footage shows Fairy Meadow mates Ben Albert and Rhys Olbrich confront, then assault a male customer on the afternoon of May 24 last year after he chastised them for littering.
The court heard Albert told the customer to “get f---ed” and continued into the store with Olbrich and a female friend.
The duo ran into each other again at the counter and got into a further argument, prompting an aggressive Albert to spit in the man’s face, despite Olbrich and the woman trying to pull their friend away.
Albert then spat in the face of a security guard who tried to calm the situation down.
When the shop attendant refused to serve the group, Albert pushed over a wine and cider display as he left the store, causing several bottles to break.
The group then headed back to their car, at which time the customer stood outside the store entry doors and took a photo of the vehicle’s registration plate.
The footage shows Olbrich run back to the front doors and lash out at the victim, punching him repeatedly as he tried to grab his phone.
The pair wrestled alone at first, until the shop attendant tried to get between them and break up the fight.
However, he too was hit by Olbrich, who managed to get the phone and ran back towards the car.
The customer gave chase, however was confronted by Albert, who punched him in the head.
The man then retreated back into the store and Albert, Olbrich and the woman left the scene.
Olbrich was arrest in July and Albert in August.
Oblrich pleaded guilty to affray and larceny charges in court on Friday, with lawyer Matt Ward saying his client had been drinking heavily at the time to cope with a relationship breakdown.
Mr Ward said Olbrich was now receiving psychological treatment for alcohol and anger issues and had not committed any further offences since his arrest.
He asked the court to consider imposing a suspended jail sentence, however Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said Oblrich’s “atrocious” behaviour, coupled with his poor criminal history, warranted full-time custody and sentenced him to at least six months’ behind bars.
He has since lodged a severity appeal against the sentence and been released on bail in the interim.
Meantime, Albert was jailed for a minimum of nine months earlier this month.
He too has appealed his sentence.