In In the Courts by Clyde Mooney

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The Entrance business owner George Habkouk is awaiting trial over the death on New Year’s Day of Haydn Butcher outside a central coast hotel.

Wyong Local Court has heard preliminary details of the incident in the early hours of New Year’s Day, involving 49-year-old Habkouk and employees from his pizza business.

The group had left work around 11:30 on New Year’s Eve and attended the Lakes Hotel, where one of the female employees was the victim of an assault. Both the assailant and group were asked to leave.

Outside, the female employee reportedly ran after her assailant, when for unknown reasons 31-year-old Butcher, who was not involved in the early incident, raised his arm in her path and “stiff-armed” her.

Haydn Butcher. Image: Facebook

Habkouk rushed to his employee’s defence, and is said to have punched Butcher once.

Butcher fell heavily to the ground. Habkouk says he attempted to render assistance but was urged away by others at the scene.

Butcher died the following day from head injuries.

Habkouk was subsequently charged with assault causing death.

At the bail hearing last Monday (8 January), police argued he was a flight risk, and cited his record of a previous charge for assault in 1994, and a failure to appear in court.

Barrister for the defence John Korn argued his client had operated three businesses in the area for the last 13 years, and raised four children with his partner. His parents were prepared to post their Sydney home as security.

Magistrate Karen Robinson sided with police and declined bail. The hearing is set for March.