Our client was charged with manslaughter and affray after a fight outside a bar at Darling Harbour which led to a male being pushed into the water and subsequently drowning.


Potential penalties

The maximum penalty for manslaughter in NSW is 25 years imprisonment. Affray carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.


Case facts

Our client was friends with the security guards working at Pontoon Bar and had previously worked there from time to time. It was this connection that brought him to that Bar that evening.

CCTV footage from inside the Bar revealed that the deceased had been involved in a fight with a group of males inside the bar on the dance floor area, resulting in both groups being ejected from the Bar. At this time, our client was at the bar with two other friends. He had no involvement in the initial altercation, only engaging to assist the security guards to remove patrons involved in the fight.

Patrons ejected from the Bar congregated outside resulting in a second brawl erupting out the front, on the promenade area. A large number of people were involved in this brawl. Our client was involved, retaliating after being struck by a person from the initial altercation inside. The brawl ultimately separated into other smaller brawls in the vicinity outside the bar – one of these brawls involved the deceased.

Unfortunately, our client was in the area participating in the fight that was near the water’s edge around the time the deceased fell into the water. A number of witnesses alleged that our client was the offender who pushed the deceased into the water. None of those witnesses however actually observed our client physically push the deceased into the water. Only one witness, the deceased’s good friend who had accompanied the deceased to that Bar that evening actually saw the deceased be pushed into the water. This witness identified the male who pushed the deceased into the water as being of Caucasian appearance with blonde hair. Our client was a gentleman who, amongst other things was of Middle Eastern appearance and significantly, had dark brown hair.


The trial

The prosecution alleged that our client had caused the death of the deceased by an unlawful and dangerous act, that is, by pushing the deceased into the water. Many witnesses gave evidence regarding their observations of the initial altercation inside the bar and of what occurred on the promenade.

Importantly, a number of men in the initial fight on the dance floor inside the bar had blonde hair. Notably, revealed through our investigations during the trial, a number of these blonde haired males were either off-duty serving police officers or had been accepted into the police academy. None of these persons had been previously identified by police officers during their investigations. We identified each and every one by name.


The verdict

Our client was found not guilty of manslaughter. The jury could not have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that our client was the male that pushed the deceased into the water.

Our client pleaded guilty to the affray and due to persuasive submissions on sentence, our client was discharged without conviction pursuant to section 10(1)(b) on condition he enter into a good behaviour bond. This was an outstanding result brought about by our effective preparation.


Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in all areas of criminal law. Contact us if you require assistance.