17 July 2022

Fight over rowdy pokies players ends with man glassed in face

| Albert McKnight

Varin Hilary Hillbrick, 44, leaves court after his sentencing on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A noise dispute between patrons playing the pokies at a Woden club escalated into a fight where one man shattered a beer glass into another’s face, resulting in a “permanent disfigurement”.

Varin Hilary Hillbrick, 44, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm over the glassing that left his victim with visible scarring to his face.

He had been out with a friend at the club on 24 February 2022 and they were seen cheering and high fiving when they won at the poker machines, or screaming when they lost.

Magistrate Jane Campbell said after an argument about the noise they were making, both his friend and the victim’s friend got into a “punch-up”.

She said the victim tried to stop the fight, but Hillbrick got involved. They grabbed each other, then Hillbrick punched him while holding the glass which shattered on his face, causing multiple lacerations.

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Court documents say Hillbrick also threw more punches, which didn’t connect, while chasing his victim.

The man was screaming in pain and ran behind the bar when Hillbrick said: “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did this. I’ve never done this before”.

Prosecutor Hannah Lee said the victim needed surgery to remove glass from his head and the resulting scar from the attack was a “permanent disfigurement”. He also had to spend three days in hospital.

“It is very noticeable,” Magistrate Campbell said of the scarring.

Hillbrick’s lawyer Rachel Bird argued there had been an agreement between two of the men for a fight, then her drunk client became involved when another man stepped in.

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Magistrate Campbell said the retail worker was clearly intoxicated and she accepted it was an “impulsive act” that was out of character for him.

She said if he hadn’t been intoxicated he may not have gotten involved in the fight.

Hillbrick was convicted and sentenced to six months’ jail, fully suspended for an 18-month good behaviour order.

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