UPDATE: The teenager seen in a video being assaulted by a security guard outside a Coffs hotel has been charged by police with multiple offenses.
Video emerged on social media and 7News showing an 18-year-old man being struck by a security guard outside a Coffs Harbour hotel, in the evening of St Patrick’s Day (Friday, 19 March).
The camera-phone footage only shows the events from the point the teenager is hit twice by the guard, and a blurred scuffle involving more guards and the young man, from nearby Sandy Beach.
This footage and subsequent news coverage did not appear until a week after the event, and prompted accusations that it did not show the whole story.
Police relayed that no report had been filed in relation to the incident, and that they would be investigating if somebody had committed an offence.
“If someone is alleging they have been a victim of a serious assault, they should come to the police and allow police to investigate the matter and determine where the truth lies,” said Coffs Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson.
In a statement, the hotel’s management confirmed that police had viewed all the CCTV and the venue’s incident logs, and suggested measures should be taken to help people understand the rules.
“These laws are often misunderstood, and we agree more education is required to the public, especially the new youth going out, and this will be a focus moving forward.”
Publican Marty Phillips further clarified that there was a lot more to the incident than first appeared.
“The patron was barred from the hotel two weeks previous for about 12 months due to some incidents. On the night of the 17th he entered the hotel and was removed twice by security and remained around the area for 45 minutes.”
Far from condoning the actions of the guard, the hotel confirmed it had contracted a new security team.
But continued analysis of the evidence has now seen the man charged with trespass, excluded person remain on premises and remain in the vicinity of the premises, and assault occasioning bodily harm.
“When you look at the video footage, it’s quite concerning as it looks like he was the victim of some sort of crime, but when you look at all the evidence including the CCTV footage taken at the scene, it’s shows a very different picture,” furthered Det. Jameson.
“We are satisfied that the young person was the aggressor on the night.”
The charges come after a formal complaint by the security guard involved, who says he suffered a split lip and “severe swelling” of the face.
Police will reportedly testify that the initial hit by the guard was a lawful two-handed ‘security drill’. The guard will not be facing any charges, and police took the unusual step of saying that the footage circulated on social media presented the “wrong story”.
“In this regard a person going about their lawful employment has been vilified for no reason and as we can see now a young person, only 18, who made some bad choices under the effects of alcohol has some serious issues that he will be facing court.”
The young man has been granted bail, and is scheduled to appear before court on Monday, 8 May.
Video shown on 7 News.