A Sydney teenager involved in a vicious brawl at Port Kembla Surf Club during an out-of-control 18th birthday party has walked free from court after spending four months behind bars.
Eighteen-year-old Deng Deng Alwang, who moved to Australia from South Sudan 12 years ago, was arrested just hours after he and another Sudanese man attempted to gatecrash the June 2 event, leading to a confrontation with several other party-goers.
Court documents said Alwang found a hammer outside the club and threatened his rivals, but it was taken from him before he could use it. However, the party-goers set upon the pair as soon as Alwang was disarmed and beat his friend unconscious.
In a statement provided to police, the father of the birthday girl said his daughter had invited 200-300 guests to the party but he’d never seen most of them before, including Alwang and his mate.
“I didn’t know any of the guys laying into the two African guys,” he told police.
“I didn’t know 90 per cent of the people at the party.”
He described the fight as “chaotic” and “brutal”.
“Guys were running and kicking him [Alwang’s friend] in the head while he was on the ground, like kicking a soccer ball,” he said.
“They were crazy, it was chaos.”
Meantime, Alwang stumbled away from the melee. Police later found him nearby. He was taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station, charged with affray and remanded in custody.
Alwang initially pleaded not guilty to the charge but entered a last minute plea on Wednesday ahead of a scheduled hearing in Wollongong Local Court.
Defence lawyer Cate Doosey argued her client’s four months behind bars on remand was a sufficient sentence for his crime and he should be released from jail given his young age.
She said he was remorseful for what he’d done and wished to return to work so he could continue assisting his mother financially.
“He’s asked me repeatedly to convey to the court how sorry he is for what he’s done,” she said.
Magistrate Mark Douglass agreed Alwang should be freed on parole and fixed a four-month sentence that allowed for his immediate release.
“Offences such as this disturb people’s lifestyles, they feel less confident in their ability to go out at night,” he said.
“I imagine you learned a lot from what happened this night.”