Identity mix up led to fight

IT was a case of mistaken identity for two co-defendants who appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court this week.

Andrew James McInnes, of Walloon, was charged with creating a disturbance in a Rainbow Beach hotel.

Kevin David Phillips, of Rainbow Beach, was charged with creating a public nuisance and had a further charge of obstructing a police officer on the same day, January 7.

Defence barrister Grant Forward said Phillips, 46, who ran Wolf Rock Dive Centre, had been previously banned from the establishment. And when McInnes, who is employed by Phillips, arrived wearing a Wolf Rock Dive Centre shirt staff thought he was his employer.

Mr Forward said staff told McInnes he was barred from drinking at the hotel and an argument ensured.

He said Phillips, who was also present, tried to stop the fight by saying it was him that was banned, but staff told them both to leave.

Prosecutor Sergeant Jason Todman told the court police were called to a disturbance about 10.20pm.

He said McInnes, 35, had grabbed the shirt of a staff member and pushed him against a wall before the pair left.

Mr Forward said they then walked to a nearby park where Phillips was consuming cans of alcohol.

Sgt Todman said police told him to tip the cans out.

But he refused and when police arrested him he became violent and ended up punching the police vehicle.

The defence argued that Mr Phillips punched the vehicle because an officer had “delivered what could only be described as a karate-type kick to Mr Phillips’ leg”.

Mr Forward said the kick was so severe Phillips’ thigh muscle had come away from the bone, resulting in time off work for the commercial diver.

On the night, Phillips was also given a $400 fine for entering the hotel after being refused entry, and a $100 fine for consuming liquor in a public place.

Gympie Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said for McInnes it was a fairly minor matter but she described his actions of grabbing a staff member by the shirt and pushing him against a wall as “outrageous”.

She fined him $100 and did not record a conviction.

Mrs Baldwin told Phillips it seemed there was a lot more than met the eye when it came to the dispute with the hotel.

“None the less, police have a role to play and there was obviously angst ... their job is not particularly easy, especially when there is violence,” she said. He was fined $300 for both charges.

Gympie Times

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