VICTORIAN VIOLENCE: ARRESTS AND WIDESPREAD BANS

In In the Courts by Clyde Mooney

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Three men have been arrested without charge for a pub fight that saw a 51-year-old man die, as a Victorian magistrate poses a clamp-down on alcohol-fuelled violence.

Shortly before midnight on Friday (20 October) witnesses say a group of people began fighting outside a pub in Eildon, in eastern central Victoria.

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Greg Mitchem, from Frankston in Melbourne, was knocked to the ground, where he struck his head and subsequently died.

Investigators set up a crime scene at the location, gathering evidence, and later on Saturday three men – two aged 18 and one aged 23, each from nearby Thornton – were arrested in relation to the incident.

By Sunday evening, the three men had been released pending further enquiries.

Earlier this month, a Melbourne man was fined and banned from every licensed venue in the State for an unprovoked attack in a pub.

33-year-old local man Scott Gainger was drinking heavily at a hotel in Drysdale the night before the Anzac Day public holiday. He got into an argument in the beer garden with a 46-year-old man not known to him previously, ultimately leaping across tables and landing a blow to his head.

The single punch knocked the man out and to the ground, fracturing bones in his eye socket and nose.

Gainger reportedly left the premises after the attack. The victim was taken to Geelong hospital.

Gainger fronted Bellarine police 16 days later, saying he had been too intoxicated to remember the incident. He later plead guilty to a charge of recklessly causing serious injury.

Magistrate Ann McGarvie noted the severity of the drunken attack, which could have easily resulted in death, but also Gainger’s lack of criminal history and remorse, issuing warning he could no longer be anywhere alcohol was sold, and omen that he could have been facing far worse.

“It is only pure luck that you are not in the County Court facing a jail term of five to 12 years,” said McGarvie.

“We will not accept this behaviour. You are best, in my view, to avoid alcohol altogether.”

Gainger received a $10k fine, and order excluding him from any licensed venue.

Eildon Holiday Resort