Our client was working as a security guard when a group of violent and quarrelsome patrons were told to leave the premises.
As the group was leaving, a series of scuffles broke out with security guards, started by members of that group. CCTV footage showed their actions. Our client was focused on the male in front of him when suddenly to his right another male was leering towards him, very close to the guard’s face and with his arms bent as though he may have going to throw a punch. The guard instinctively reacted by punching the male once before retreating.
Although it seems that licensing police were watching from nearby, they did not intervene until after the punch. The guard was charged. The client pleaded not guilty. The matter was listed for defended hearing. His security licence was revoked despite the apparent reasonableness of his actions – as recorded on the CCTV footage. The footage cast grave doubt as to the accuracy of the arresting officer’s observations of what occurred.
CCTV footage saved the day. It supported our client’s claim of self defence. Once self defence is raised, the prosecution have the onus of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused did not genuinely believe that it was necessary to act in that way to defend themselves, and that the accused’s actions were not a reasonable response to the danger, as perceived by the accused.
The charges were dismissed. The security guard has reapplied for his licence. Due to his licence being revoked, he lost income for approximately 8 months until the matter was finalized.
A challenge was made to the licence being revoked – and as part of that challenge, we served the CCTV footage upon the Security Industry Registry. Notwithstanding the footage, the licence remained revoked. There is a rule of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It appears that such a rule is interpreted differently in some instances.