Patron denies glassing publican
A PUBLICAN who was seriously injured during a violent night at his Uki hotel has told the Lismore District Court how he also feared for the safety of his pregnant wife.
Alex Georgopoulos was the owner and licensee of the Mt Warning Hotel on July 27, 2007, when he was involved in a ‘wrestle’ with Johnas Todd, a resident of Uki.
Mr Georgopoulos was left with a large cut on his neck,requiring 40 stitches, and another cut on his chest, which needed 20 stitches.
Todd, 26, has been charged with maliciously wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
His trial started in the Lismore District Court yesterday and he has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The jury was told the prosecution would ‘paint a picture’ to indicate Todd had used a broken bottle to wound Mr Georgopoulos – ‘a hotel or pub glassing’.
However, defence lawyer John Weller said the pair had just rolled around in an area where there was a ‘substantial’ amount of broken glass. He said it was not Todd’s intention to wound Mr Georgopoulos.
The wrestle between the pair was the culmination of a night of ‘violence and chaos’.
A band was playing at the hotel that night, attracting about 300 patrons.
The court heard that the trouble started about 10pm, when Todd put a security guard into a ‘choke hold’ to prevent him from helping another guard who had been punched by a patron.
Todd was asked to leave, but Mr Georgopoulos said he later saw Todd near the entrance of the hotel, talking to a young woman.
Mr Georgopoulos said he again asked Todd to leave.
“He said to me, ‘what the f*** are you going to do about it?’,” he said.
Mr Georgopoulos said he then pushed Todd out of the hotel and left security officers to deal with the situation.
Before long, he heard a ‘massive smashing of glass’ and an altercation between security and patrons in the bottle shop.
Bottles were broken, a window was smashed and shelves were knocked over, Mr Georgopoulos said.
He also said a second window was broken and that Todd had been seen punching that window.
“I was concerned for my wife because she was pregnant at the time,” Mr Georgopoulos said. “She ducked down ... straight away I screamed at her to get to the back (of the hotel).”
Mr Georgopoulos said Todd later confronted him outside the hotel, saying ‘come on c***, let’s go’, before ‘charging’ at him.
He said there was a brief struggle before he was able to get to his feet, then he noticed a ‘burning sensation’ at his throat.
But it wasn’t until he got back inside the hotel that he noticed he was covered in blood. An ambulance and police were called to the scene.
When Mr Georgopoulos was asked by Mr Weller whether he had ever suggested that a broken bottle had been used in the attack, he replied: “No.”
The jury also heard that the hotel’s CCTV footage had not worked that night.
The trial continues today, with Mr Georgopoulos to finish giving his evidence.
Other witnesses to be called will include his wife, Angela, security guards, the hotel manager, patrons of the hotel, doctors and Todd’s two brothers.