Byron nightclub's bashing bill
CHEEKY MONKEYS nightclub at Byron Bay has been ordered to pay more than $115,000 in damages to a patron whose head was stomped on by one of its bouncers.
Sunshine Coast man Dean Cameron Smith, 39, was celebrating New Year's Eve 2006 at the nightspot when one of his friends became involved in an altercation with a bouncer.
When Mr Smith went to intervene, another bouncer, Alstonville man Brett Blaikie, threw him to the ground and stomped on his head, fracturing his skull.
Mr Blaikie was later found guilty of assault and received a suspended jail sentence.
Mr Smith lodged a damages claim on the basis that he suffered ongoing problems related to the assault, including recurring headaches, earaches, disfigurement and pain.
Court documents showed he also suffered post traumatic stress disorder, the symptoms of which included anxiety, anger, stress, lethargy, memory problems, and fear of being bashed again.
A District Court judge this week ordered Cheeky Monkeys pay Mr Smith $115,300 in damages and legal costs.
Solicitor for Mr Smith, Gary Hooper, said the judge had commented that he found it ridiculous that a security guard should over-react to a patron.
“He said the nightclub was a popular venue for backpackers, encourages table-top dancing and is open until 3am, and it should ensure that its staff is properly instructed in how to use force,” Mr Hooper said.
“He said there was no real evidence that the club took this role as seriously as it should.”
Mr Hooper said it was an important case for the region.
“It should send a strong message to nightclub owners in particular that the courts will hold them responsible for assaults and bad behaviour by bouncers carried out in the course of their duty,” he said.
Blaikie's barrister was yesterday contacted for comment, but was unavailable.
Cheeky Monkeys proprietor Monique Phillips yesterday declined to comment on the case.