A man charged over an assault at a Wollongong caravan park in the early hours of New Year’s Day has been released from custody after a series of police attempts to determine his identity.
John Henery Ball appeared in Wollongong Bail Court on Sunday, charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
According to police, the 43-year-old was staying in a caravan at the “Towradgi Tourist Park”, understood to be the Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort, when he wandered into a neighbouring site while talking on his mobile about midnight.
Police documents stated Ball was asked by one of the neighbours to be quiet, but returned about an hour later, speaking loudly and swearing while on the phone.
After being spoken to again, Ball allegedly “raised his fists and said ‘who wants it first?’, indicating he was going to punch someone”, the police facts said.
A “heated argument” followed, during which Ball was allegedly seen brandishing a tent pole.
“The accused thrust the pole down on [the victim’s] face, twice striking him,” the facts said. Police were called and Ball was arrested.
He was taken to Wollongong police station, where he allegedly declined an interview and refused to be fingerprinted or photographed.
In opposing bail, police said the assault was an “unprovoked attack” and raised concerns Ball had provided false details.
“We cannot establish who this person is,” police prosecutor Sergeant Anna Comer said.
The court heard Ball had no apparent prior convictions and had been in the Illawarra about three months as part of a trip around Australia.
“I am exactly who I say I am, please let me go,” Ball told the court, later stating he had a Queensland-issued driver’s licence.
The court adjourned for a short time to allow police to confirm his identity, in what registrar Bruiceen Coulthard described as a “very unusual situation”.
“I need to be satisfied who he is before I can release him,” registrar Coulthard said.
Bail was later granted on a number of conditions, including Ball's passport be surrendered and he report daily to police.
The matter returns to court on January 9.