Bouncer attack 'clear picture of guilt'

MARK RUSSELL
Last updated 16:35 17/07/2013
Fairfax Australia

CCTV captures the escalation of a dispute involving Crown Casino bouncers as they tried to escort a group of patrons off the premises.

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Two Crown bouncers found guilty of attacking a couple enjoying a night out at the casino have today been fined a total of A$14,000 (NZ$16,400).

Justice Lex Lasry said the bouncers, Quoc Hai Tran, 35, and Jacques Tony Fucile, 31, had acted out of character when assaulting the couple.

The judge recorded convictions against both men, meaning they were likely to be banned from working in the security industry for 10 years.

The casino's closed circuit television footage of the incident proved to be the key prosecution evidence in the case against Tran and Fucile.

A Supreme Court jury found Tran guilty of assault, intentionally causing injury and false imprisonment, and Fucile guilty of intentionally causing injury and false imprisonment.

A third bouncer, Nicholas Vladmir Levchenko , 27, found guilty of false imprisonment was fined A$2000 without conviction.

Mother of four Olivia Ferguson, her partner, Mathew Anderson, and Anthony Dunning went to the casino on Sunday night, July 3, 2011, after a day at the football before Dunning came to the attention of security staff about 10.30pm when he appeared to be drunk and was asked to leave.

As he was being escorted outside, Dunning, who later died from cardiac arrest, bumped into his two friends and the situation escalated.

Ferguson slapped Tran across the face believing he said something derogatory about her friend to another bouncer. This bouncer was found not guilty in November last year of the manslaughter of Dunning after he was brought forcibly to the ground and restrained.

Tran was angry at being slapped and threw Ferguson violently to the ground.

Justice Lasry said Tran's reaction to being slapped had been "extraordinary" given he was surrounded by six other bouncers at the time.

The level of threat posed by Ferguson was non-existent.

Ferguson was pinned to the ground before being escorted outside.

Justice Lasry said CCTV footage of the incident showed the pain on Ferguson's face as she was placed in a horizontal hold where the forearms are held parallel to the ground and the wrists bent up and backwards towards the chest.

The judge said he was satisfied Ferguson would have been crying out in pain and Tran's failure to intervene showed his intention that she suffer pain.

Anderson was also thrown to the floor by Fucile and Levchenko and forcibly turned on to his stomach. He suffered a broken nose and broken elbow before being restrained and taken outside.

Justice Lasry said the offending by the bouncers was at the lower end of the scale because the injuries suffered by Anderson and Ferguson were minor. But this did not mean what they did was not serious.

The judge said Tran and Fucile no doubt now understood the consequences of their actions and had learned a "salutary lesson".

He fined Tran a total of A$8000, Fucile A$6000 and Levchenko A$2000.

In his closing address to the jury, prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, said the CCTV footage had exposed the actions of the three men to the harsh light of reality.

"There is something very powerful about the images, the pictures of what was actually done to those people by the men in the dock," Tinney said.

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"We would suggest the footage paints a very, very damning picture for the three accused, a very clear picture of their guilt."

The bouncers' barristers, believed to have been paid by Crown, had claimed they were dealing with a threatening situation and acted in self defence.

"Self-defence is not about violence dressed up as defence," Tinney told the jury.

"Security officers don't have any additional rights. There's no lower standard that governs their behaviour and their responses. They have to abide by the law and that law, members of the jury, is the law of the State of Victoria, not the law of Crown Casino."

- The Age

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