10 February 2022

'Honourable individual' punches stranger in the face on Canberra dancefloor

| Albert McKnight
Shane Edward Malec

Shane Edward Malec, 36, leaves court after being fined for an assault. Photo: Albert McKnight.

The victim of an attack at a south Canberra pub claims he was left battered and confused after being knocked unconscious on the dancefloor by someone he had never spoken to before.

Shane Edward Malec, 36, was spared time behind bars after being convicted of an assault charge and fined $2500 in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (9 February).

The court heard Malec was at PJ O’Reilly’s in Greenway in June 2021 when he punched his victim in the face, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with a displaced fracture of his jaw and four chipped teeth.

In a statement written by the victim and read to the court, he said he was out to celebrate a birthday party with his partner when he was punched, blacked out and had to be taken to hospital.

“I hadn’t said anything to him and I don’t know why it happened,” he said.

The victim said he was left wondering if Malec thought he was someone else, or if the punch had been directed at him.

READ ALSO Innocent woman hit after businessman threw a glass in a bar in a ‘moment of madness’

In addition to his main injuries, the sight in his left eye was blurry for a time and he couldn’t breathe through his left nostril for months.

He also gets blood noses when he blows his nose and said sometimes it felt like he had a headache behind his eye.

Malec’s lawyer, Rachel Bird, said the incident happened a few months after her client’s marriage had broken down and he was going through difficult times, but his wife still provided a reference for court saying he was an “honourable individual”.

Magistrate Peter Morrison said, when police arrived at PJ O’Reilly’s, Malec admitted he punched his victim first, but claimed it was in self-defence as his victim had been trying to intimidate him.

“I didn’t think I hit him that hard,” he later said.

READ ALSO Blood on the dancefloor as three punched at Mooseheads

He had been drinking for eight hours beforehand and didn’t know how many drinks he’d had.

Magistrate Morrison said any suggestion he had been provoked had to be seen against the background of the large amount of alcohol he’d consumed on the night.

Malec, a foreman in a civil engineering company, had pleaded guilty to the charge.

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