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Gangs clash in Sunken Gardens brawl

Gangs clash in Sunken Gardens brawl

Friday 28 September 2018

Gangs clash in Sunken Gardens brawl

Friday 28 September 2018


Five men have been sent to prison after being found guilty of affray and other charges, during what the Judge described as the most expensive Magistrate's court case for some time in Guernsey.

Six men in total were involved in a fight in the Sunken Gardens last October, when a metal pole was used as a weapon.

Four of them worked at Octopus at the time while the other two worked for the Hotel de Havelet. All but one of the group had previously denied the offence, leading to the 'expensive' eight day trial in August where they were all found guilty.

royal court

Pictured: The eight day trial was heard by the Magistrate, Graeme McKerrell. 

The affray took place in the early hours of 24 October 2017, when the six hospitality workers were split into two groups during a mass brawl at the Sunken Gardens in St Peter Port.

Bruno Scafuro, 19, and Antonio Dellicia, 21, were on one side, against Owain Turner, 38, Mateusz Weierzbicki, 25, Julian Fresh, 24 and Alexis Le Bray, 23.

During the fight, which the court heard described as 'organised violence', Scafuro was seen with a metal pole, which he'd fashioned into a weapon by wrapping tape around the handle to give him a better grip on it. The weapon was used by two of the defendants during the brawl, while all of them used threatening and unlawful violence during the whole indecent which was caught on CCTV.

Only Le Bray pleaded guilty to the offence, meaning the case had to go to trial, which not only delayed the group's sentencing but also meant the case cost more in time and money that it would have otherwise. 

Court Entrance

Pictured: The entrance to the court.

In sentencing, Judge McKerrell said that he had kept notes during the trial and had kept wondering how the eight allocated days would be filled.

"The CCTV was what I would describe as 'slam dunk evidence' and I kept waiting for the golden bullet to blow the prosecution out of the water, but it never came. It never came as it was never there."

He noted that Le Bray had been the only one to plead guilty but as the others all denied their own charges, the case had to go to trial. "This case has been a significant drain on the public purse, given that we had an eight day hearing and a number of interpreters. It is the most expensive Magistrate case for some time and should have been avoided," said Judge McKerrell.

"This is certainly one of the worst displays of public disorder I have had to deal with in this jurisdiction, here we are more used to a ruck outside a pub or nightclub fuelled by drink. Whilst many of these can be serious the real distinction here is that the planning and forethought is usually limited and often only amounts to a defendant waiting outside a pub or club. This case is different, whilst no permanent injuries have been caused there was more planning and forethought put into the incident and a willingness on both sides to use violence."

He said CCTV had 'graphically illustrated' taunting by one of the groups, who told the other group to go to the Sunken Garden. Judge McKerrell said at that time, there was no doubt 'a fight was on the cards.'

Graeme McKerrell

Pictured: Judge Graeme McKerrell.

McKerrell noted another unusual fact relating to the fight, when it came to alcohol.

"What is common to all of you is that drink is not involved, you all say it does not feature in this case and I accept that, but it makes what followed all the more difficult to understand. Drink is often an explanation, not an excuse. In this case drink is not even an explanation."

Before sentencing them all individually, Judge McKerrell said, "it is clear from all your comments and demeanour throughout this whole trial that none of you seem to realise the seriousness of this. The incident is viewed as a scrap and this is shown by the cavalier attitude of some of you in the dock, with two of you late and delaying court time.

"In Guernsey terms this was an incident of serious public disorder, if you come to live and work here then you are judged by our standards not the country you come from. If Guernsey is less tolerant of thuggish behaviour that is your look out."

As each defendant had a varying role in the fight, McKerrell sentenced them individually.

In Sentencing Scafuro, Judge McKerrell said: "You gave evidence which CCTV saw to be untrue, you also suggested that the pole happened to be in the sunken gardens when it is seen fashioned into a weapon. Your excuse is as likely as dancing cows coming through the door singing God Save The Queen. You went to the Sunken Gardens looking for a fight.

"Those who carry weapons have to understand that the punishment is severe," he said, sentencing Scafuro to four months youth detention.

Delucia had changed his plea to guilty during the trial and was told that if it had not been for that then his four week prison sentence would have been longer.

The Judge addressed Turner on his aggressive manner and the way he threw his hat and coat off to indicate he wanted a fight.

"You are older than the others and you should have known better, your grey matter was overruled by mob mentality and you fully engaged in the violence."

Turner was also sentenced at the time for possession of 0.5 grams of crack cocaine for which he was given a total of five months in prison.

Fressy was addressed by the judge who also commented on him using mob mentality. Fressy had claimed at trial his actions were in self defence, but Judge McKerrell said he had every chance to avoid confrontation and should have gone home he said: "You used mob violence and readily participated."

Fressy was given six weeks in prison.

Le Bray was given full credit for his guilty plea and the judge noted that for the most part he had been trying to resolve the situation. However, when the violence did occur the judge said: "Your actions thereafter are inexcusable."

Le Bray was given six weeks in prison suspended for two years and was the only one of the men to leave the court via the front entrance.

Wierzbicki will be sentenced at a later date as he had failed to attend his probation meeting and therefore the Judge was not in possession of a probation report for this defendant. He was refused bail and therefore left with the other defendants via the back door. The Judge said he would take his time in custody into account when he finally sentenced him.

Pictured: Guernsey's Sunken Gardens. 

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