Security flee as man breaks bottle

LED ZEPPELIN hits were thumping out from Uki’s Mount Warning Hotel when Hayley Poli, from the edge of the beer garden, saw Johnas Todd stoop to smash a beer bottle on the road and come up holding the jagged neck.

It was July 27, 2007, and Todd, 26 of Uki, had become part of a violent struggle between a small group of patrons, security guards and hotel owner Alex Georgopoulos, Lismore District Court heard yesterday.

In what was supposed to have been the pub’s biggest night since Mr Georgopoulos and his wife, Angela, bought the venue more than three years earlier. They had booked Led Zeppelin tribute band Zed Leppelin to play in the beer garden and had put on up to eight security officers to keep the peace as about 300 people partied the night away.

But trouble came anyway.

The court heard things turned nasty when pub manager Jim Angelis and a security officer ordered an intoxicated patron, who was trying to enter the pub, to leave.

“He shaped up and hit one security officer (Shaun Blakie) in the face,” Mr Angelis told the court yesterday.

Another officer jumped in to help Mr Blakie while Todd restrained a third officer by putting him in a headlock.

The skirmish started a series of brawls that left the pub’s small bottle shop trashed, a pub window broken and, finally, Mr Georgopoulos suffering big cuts across his face and chest after Todd allegedly attacked him out the front of the pub.

Todd is now on trial over that attack, charged with maliciously wounding Mr Georgopoulos with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He is accused of attacking the former publican – he and Mrs Georgopoulos sold the pub soon after – with a broken bottle.

However, defence counsel John Weller argues Mr Georgopoulos was cut by broken glass already on the ground as he and Todd wrestled.

Mr Georgopoulos told the court on Monday he had not seen the broken bottle Todd is alleged to have wielded. Yesterday Ms Poli said she saw Todd smash the bottle and rise holding its broken neck before starting towards the pub, but she did not see him reach the veranda.

Mr Blakie also told the court he saw Todd smash the bottle on the ground and rise with the broken neck. It prompted he and his security officers to flee inside ‘because we did not want to be stabbed’.

However, under cross examination, he conceded he may have been mistaken about seeing Todd holding the broken bottle. He also did not see the start of the fight or Todd with the bottle during the fight.

The trial continues today in the Lismore District Court before Judge James Black.

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