Bouncers punch sparked pub chaos

THE Uki pub exploded into violence as Johnas Todd hit the ground.

Witnesses yesterday told Lismore District Court fights broke out across the front of the pub after a man, claimed by one witness to be a bouncer, pulled off his shirt and punched Todd in the face, sending him flying down a small flight of concrete stairs on to Kyogle Road.

July 27, 2007, was supposed to have been the Mount Warning Hotel’s best night ever. Owners Alex and Angela Georgopoulos had Led Zeppelin tribute band Zed Leppelin playing in the beer garden, attracting about 300 to the little pub.

Trouble began when Todd intervened in a fight between bouncers and a young drunk, who was refused entry. It ended with Mr Georgopoulos receiving serious cuts to his neck and chest and with Todd being charged with attacking the publican with a broken bottle.

Now fighting that charge in the District Court, Todd, 26, of Uki, yesterday said he regretted intervening in the conflict between security officers and the young drunk – whose name Todd had not even known. “I turned around and saw three security guards on top of him on the ground ... and a fourth was coming past me,” he said.

Todd said he made a split-second decision to stick up for the drunk and grabbed the fourth guard – other witnesses have said he put him in a headlock – to stop him joining his colleagues.

Todd released the bouncer and left when asked by Mr Georgopoulos, taking a four-pack of pre-mix drink cans he had bought from the bottle shop.

Instead of taking his 14-year-old brother Peter ‘Banjo’ Todd home, he ended up chatting and sharing his drinks with a group at a table in a park over the road.

The drinks ran out and Todd returned to the pub to buy another four-pack before going home. That’s when things really went wrong. Todd has said he was pushed from the bottleshop by Mr Georgopoulos. He fell and got back up, only to be punched in the face by an unknown assailant and sent sprawling.

Giving evidence for the defence, Tweed Heads South mechanic Tim Cormack said he saw a bouncer take off his shirt and punch Todd. Another witness, Michael Wilson, said he saw a ‘tall, bald guy’ take off his shirt and hit Todd. Both said the punch sent the pub into chaos.

Fights ‘erupted’ across the front of the pub, sending glasses and bottles smashing onto the ground from the tables.

It was at this point Todd, who was standing on the road, was alleged to have walked back into the maelstrom clutching a broken beer bottle. Todd and Banjo denied he had a broken bottle.

Todd told the court he wanted an explanation for his beating from Mr Georgopoulos. He found the publican, but instead ended up in a wrestling match.

It was at that point the Crown alleges Todd used a broken bottle to stab Mr Georgopoulos in the neck and chest.

However, Mr Cormack said he saw the wrestling match between Todd and Mr Georgopoulos and each was holding the other with both hands. He saw them go down and the crowd rush in on them.

The trial concludes today before Judge James Black.

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