CCTV footage of violent
Pepe's North Wollongong brawl shown in court
'Ugly': Defence lawyers
described the brawl as 'ugly' and 'unfortunate' but said it
was a one-off.
Gangs squad police have failed
in a legal bid to ban five Illawarra men with links to the
Lone Wolf bikie gang from associating with each other after a
violent brawl at the Novotel North Beach last year.
Childhood friends Elias
Elchaar, 44, Mathew Gilmore, 29, Burah Esen, 22, Tony Jovanovski,
39 and Orce Niceski, 44, each pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a
charge of affray stemming from the December 23 melee, which took
place inside the Pepe’s on the Beach bar.
CCTV footage played in Wollongong
court showed an initial verbal disagreement between the group and
two men of Islander appearance quickly escalated into a physical
stoush as the rival groups threw chairs and glass bottles at each
Elchaar, Gilmore, Esen, Jovanovski
and Niceski were arrested in February following a police
They originally intended to fight
the charges, however agreed to plead guilty following negotiations
by defence lawyers.
Convicted: The five mates fronted
Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday.
All five men were convicted in
court on Tuesday and given sentences ranging from a $500 fine to 300
hours of community service.
Police have previously alleged in
court that Elchaar is a member of the South Coast chapter of the
outlaw motorcycle gang, while the remainder are considered “gang
Following their conviction, police
prosecutor Scott Bowie sought to have Magistrate Mark Douglass ban
the five men from having contact with each other under
'Provoked': Magistrate Mark
Douglass found the five men were acting in response to initial
hostility from two others
However, lawyers for the group
argued they had known each other since infancy and there was no
evidence of the fight being part of an organised plan stemming from
In dismissing the application,
Magistrate Mark Douglass said he was not satisfied of the need to
put an order in place, noting the incident was “spontaneous”.
“There’s simply no basis to
conclude that the offending behaviour arose out of any improper
association,” he said.
'Ugly': Defence lawyers described
the brawl as 'ugly' and 'unfortunate' but said it was a one-off.
“It was unplanned and spontaneous
– but for the provocation which was initiated by the other group,
I’m satisfied this affray would not have occurred.”
Outside court, defence lawyer
Danny Eid said his clients regretted their actions on the night.
“Unfortunately they overstepped
the mark by a little but they pleaded guilty to the matter that was
before the court,” he said.