Television celebrity Rex Hunt (circled) can be seen facing off with a teenager outside the Beach Hotel at Byron Bay in this sec
Television celebrity Rex Hunt (circled) can be seen facing off with a teenager outside the Beach Hotel at Byron Bay in this sec

Who started the fight?

By Will Jackson, Samantha Turnbull and Megan Kinninment

The teenagers involved in a brawl with Rex Hunt at Byron Bay denied last night that they were drunk at the time, saying they avoided drugs and alcohol.

The comments are at odds with claims from the boys previously reported by The Northern Star and came as Mr Hunt intensified his attack on Byron Bay, saying he 'would rather go to hell'.

The teens also repeated claims on Channel Nine's A Current Affair last night that Mr Hunt's son Matthew started the fight on October 28.

The boys said they were members of the 'Straight Edge' subculture, a group associated with the hardcore punk music scene in the United States, which advocates abstinence from tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.

They displayed tattoos featuring the Straight Edge X symbol and slogans such as 'drug free'.

"Rex has portrayed this as a bunch of drunk kids going after him when he was the only one who was intoxicated," one of the teenagers said.

However, one of the boy's involved in the incident last week told The Northern Star that members of the group had drunk two beers earlier in the evening.

Another teenager told A Current Affair that the first blow was struck by Matthew Hunt, who hit one of the boys in the back of the head.

Speaking on the program, Mr Hunt pointed out his alleged attackers on security footage from the night. However, the footage did not show the events leading up to the fight.

Criminal law expert Ralph James told The Northern Star a conviction was unlikely against anyone involved in the brawl.

Mr James, of James Fuggle Solicitors in Lismore, said the incident seemed to have evolved into a 'he said, she said' situation.

"From what I've read, the chances of someone being convicted aren't that good," he said. "I've not heard any accounts from a witness that wasn't involved in the incident themselves."

Mr James said Mr Hunt and the teenagers were both still entitled to lay charges.

"It's not too late. There's nothing stopping them laying charges," he said. "The charges would be assault or assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

"Because they're indictable, there's no statute of limitations on them. The problem would be witnesses' memories and the credibility of witnesses."

Byron-Tweed duty officer Inspector Brett Greentree said length of time was important when trying to press charges.

"Your memory is always at its best 24 hours following an incident," he said.

"However, if a complaint was made we would investigate it and a decision would have to be taken as to whether charges were made.

Asked about the security camera footage of the incident, he said: "What good is the cctv footage to us if there's no complaint?"



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