1 May 2022

Jaw broken after alleged seating dispute during Summernats burnouts

| Albert McKnight
crowd cheering at car burnout

A man had his jaw fractured when he was assaulted at Summernats 2022. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Newly-tendered court documents to the ACT Magistrates Court outline the allegations against the man accused of breaking a spectator’s jaw after a dispute started over seating while watching burnouts at Summernats 2022.

The documents were tendered on Thursday (28 April) when 27-year-old Karawera Te Kaitahi Mangu Rerekura from Gosford, NSW, successfully applied for bail.

On the afternoon of 8 January 2022, the complainant and two of his friends were at the car festival at EPIC watching the burnout qualifying master’s show in the grandstands.

Someone offered the group seats in the stands as they left, but as the trio went to sit down, another man sat there first.

The complainant said words to the effect of, “mate, those people just offered us those seats”, but the man replied with, “what?” and the remaining seats filled up with his friends.

The three friends went back to watching the show, but the man’s associates allegedly began yelling phrases at them like, “sit down, you fat c–“, and “stop being f-king idiots; we know you can f-king hear us”.

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The complainant sat down as he didn’t want anything to happen. He stood up again when he was allegedly approached by Mr Rerekura, who is accused of grabbing him by the back of his shirt, turning him around, then punching him in the jaw.

Straight away, the complainant felt dazed and started spitting blood.

Mr Rerekura is alleged to have sat back down while the complainant went to find security. As he looked back, he claimed he saw Mr Rerekura shaking hands and people cheering him.

One of the trio started taking photos of Mr Rerekura, but he allegedly told her words to the effect of, “I will bash your skull in like I did to your friend. I don’t care that you’re a woman”.

The complainant was taken to hospital and it was found he had two fractures to his jaw and a dislodged tooth that required surgery, the insertion of screws and metal plates into his jaw, as well as the removal of the tooth.

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On Thursday, Anastasia Qvist of Fortify Legal argued special or exceptional circumstances existed that favoured her client, who has previously been remanded in custody after being extradited to the ACT, being granted bail.

This included the hardship faced by his family if he remained in custody, as he has four children under eight, a pregnant partner, and they all rely on him for financial support.

Magistrate James Lawton said a combination of factors showed there were such special circumstances and granted bail, releasing him on conditions and adjourned the matter to 23 May.

Mr Rerekura has pleaded not guilty to recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

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