Manslaughter: nightclub incident mid 1980s

just316 18 September 2007 25

Hi there

If I have over-stepped the mark by posting here, then please feel free to tell me.

I am researching an incident which occured at either the Private Bin nightclub or JD’s nightclub in the mid 1980s – possibly 1985 – but I cannot be sure.

According to my recollection, a man was seriously assaulted by another man. The injured man was in a coma for about 3 months, and subsequently died as a result of his injuries. A man was arrested and he went to trial for manslaughter – I believe he had an ethnic name – possibly Eastern European. (There is reference to a manslaughter in a nightclub in the 1989 ACT Legislative Assembly Hansard, but I believe it occured several years earlier – I think).

Any ideas on how I can get further information would be greatly appreciated.

Does anyone have any further information about this incident?

Searching through Canberra Times microfilm at the National Library will prove to be a long tedious task, so I thought I’d try here first.

Your assistance would solve a mystery.

Thank you

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25 Responses to Manslaughter: nightclub incident mid 1980s
TAD TAD 8:26 am 20 Sep 07

We are all so sorry Overlord of the thread.

We all promise to never go off topic again.

Thumper Thumper 8:05 am 20 Sep 07

Tongan es army mate of mine was pushed down a set of stairs then was kicked to death in civic in 88.

No-one was charged.

F*cking bastards.

just316 just316 7:29 am 20 Sep 07

For all those people trying to tell me that the incident I’m talking about is JDs and it was Bente Mossessen – well, NO, I am not talking about that particular case – that was a bikie gang member who committed the murder and the victim was a woman, not a man as I clearly stated in my initial request above. I am talking about an incident at the Private Bin nightclub (quite certain of that – I should never have mentioned JDs because it’s put everybody’s memory into the wrong place). A guy was kick-boxed or something and he spent three months in a coma. He then died after three months. The Bente Mossessen case was a murder involving a knife and there was no coma, as she was thrown out the back of Bungendore area – big difference. Anyway, with regards to the incident I’m talking about, a guy was caught and he went to trial for m-a-n-s-l-a-u-g-h-t-e-r. Now, if anyone knows anything further about the manslaughter at the Private Bin c 1985 then I would be grateful, otherwise, I really am not interested in anything else. Thanks anyway – I’ll look at other avenues.

bronson bronson 12:32 am 20 Sep 07

call me a troll or whatever, but if you guys DO find those old photos, any chance you could post them / start a whole thread for them? Street level photos from Canberra in the 70s/80s are super interesting.

ant ant 8:47 pm 19 Sep 07

The jolimont seige was a beaut. I worked in the Melbourne Building, just across the road. Roads in were blocked, but I got into the alley somehow (had my own parking spot behind what is now Mezzelira), and then got down to the CES which faced the Jolimont from across the road.

Cops were flat-out sprinting around the place, trying to get a better spot. They were not happy.

Turned out some angry man had rammed his car in there and was roaming around with a gun. The radio station people upstairs had to get out of their studio by climbing out of a window. Everyone skulked around (with us watching through the windows!), until it emerged he’d set fire to the place and shot himself.

asp asp 7:25 pm 19 Sep 07

Image is different to the one first viewed. Looks cropped. The one I viewed some months ago had officer in the photo, hence my comments about the uniforms and weapons looking older.

asp asp 7:23 pm 19 Sep 07

Okay, the photo info has been updated since I last viewed it. It was in January 1985, a siege at East Row.

Link to image:$File/000855.JPG

asp asp 7:18 pm 19 Sep 07

Thanks TAD. Didn’t know about one in 93.
The incident in the photo I viewed was much earlier than 93. The vehicles and dinky uniforms were give aways. Also, the photo was very grainy and B&W. And they were using shot guns from WWII. The photo on the website you provide depicted a much more modern looking officer.
So that’s two sieges around Civic in Canberra’s short history. Can’t believe I’m only finding out now.

TAD TAD 12:47 pm 19 Sep 07

There was a very memorable seige at the Jolimont Centre in 93 which may be getting mixed up with the 85 one (which I know nothing about).A little piece on it is at

Bente Mosessen’s death was no manslaughter. She was brutally murdered and her body dumped in the bush at Pierces Creek. The (alleged) murder Peter Richard Dowling was acquitted in the ACT Supreme Court. A story told to me by old timer detectives was that Dowling was immediately arrested outside the court for a similar interstate murder where he was convicted. (I’m sure this would be mostly correct).

The only online docs I can find are a criminal compensaion application for Bente’s daughter and a tiny bit in an AFP Association article about police search and rescue.

scumdorg scumdorg 9:29 am 19 Sep 07

The Civic gunshop seige took place on Australia Day 1985, I know because my mother and Aunt were caught up in it while taking the bus to the Australia Day celebrations. As for the murder involving JD’s nightclub it took place in early 1988 and the woman murdered was Bente Mossessen. She was involved with bikies who used JD’s as a meeting place.

asp asp 12:16 am 19 Sep 07

“Back when we had gunshops”
Still do, there in Fyshwick. Which is a good thing.

When I was in Launceston, stayed at the top hotel in town near the Town park. It was about 500m from a school and nursing home and there was a really pro gun shop. I swear, judging by the guns and ammo in the barred windows, thank christ Martin Bryant didn’t shop there.

ant ant 10:29 pm 18 Sep 07

ah ha! it was a men’s barber/gunshop (memory banks are releasing information back to the mainframe). Back when we had gunshops. I can’t recall what his problem was, but he shot up a few things from his spot up there and was seiged for quite a while. It’s such a long time ago, but I think they got him out.

as for the nightclub thing, if it was in the early 80s, I’m pretty sure it was JDs, which was rougher. The Bin wasn’t too bad in those days. I first began going in 1980? or 81, and it was only upstairs, and was VERY civilised. No bogans or cordies got in. You had to be dressed and stylin. it was a cocktail bar adn disco, with a small dance floor with gold bars. by the mid 80s, it had got a lot bigger, and I dunno when they opened the downstairs bit but that was when the rot set in.

asp asp 10:24 pm 18 Sep 07

Thanks Ant. Finally someone knows. Talked to people who have lived here for decades and they didn’t know.

ant ant 9:57 pm 18 Sep 07

The seige in Civic was when a guy went upstairs in the bus interchange… above what is Macchiato now, and held the cops at bay for quite a while. Early 80s, from memory. I think there was a men’s barber up there then.

boomacat boomacat 9:10 pm 18 Sep 07

Talk it up asp; next you’ll be telling us that Osama Bin Laden’s camped out on Black Mountain.

asp asp 5:26 pm 18 Sep 07

It’s tough finding out about crimes pre 1990 in the ACT. In the late 70s-early 80s, there was an armed siege in Civic. I could find only one photo with a short description showing a 1980’s model Holden Commodore police car with the window shot out and Police with rifles on Northbourne Avenue. Seige involved a mentally unstable guy in the Bus interchange. Haven’t being able to find anything more on microfilm, Austlii or from my normally very reliable source, grandparents.

Somewhat unrelated. The following is an extract from the ACT Legeslative Assembly Hansard – November 1992:

“As I indicated, constituents have expressed a number of concerns to us. One person rang my office
in the last few days and talked about an incident last Saturday night in Northbourne Avenue near
the Private Bin in which his 17-year-old son was assaulted by a kickboxing gang. It was alleged
that a crowd of about 200 people actually gathered and stood around watching this incident; but, of
course, there were no police there. Eventually one of the son’s friends called some other friends
who belonged to a soccer club and they came and assisted. A melee broke out. There was fighting
going on. His son ended up with a chipped tooth and another boy had his nose broken.
This constituent approached the police on Sunday morning about safety in Civic and was told, to his
surprise, “There were only three patrol cars in the Civic area on Saturday night. There is not
enough money in the budget to do what is needed. We have lost control of the situation in Civic.
The streets around Civic are unsafe and there is an incident in Civic almost every night of the
week”. It is not unusual, apparently, for crowds of 50 or 60 youths to surround a police car and
rock the car and spit on it while the police are inside it.”

Civic dangerous. Lack of Police. Youth gone wild. Lack of funding. Assaults. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

just316 just316 3:28 pm 18 Sep 07

Thanks for the quick responses. Yes, have searched austlii, but records don’t go that far back. When I spoke to a librarian at the NLA, they didn’t mention CaseBase, but I will investigate that further – thanks fot the tip. Hhm, I was leaning towards the incident occuring in the Private Bin, but JD’s is a possibility. Many thanks – if anyone has further information or recollections, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, please let me know. Thank you.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 3:08 pm 18 Sep 07

Don’t forget: you can’t have SLAUGHTER without LAUGHTER.

boomacat boomacat 3:08 pm 18 Sep 07

Try a focused searched on – you might be able to find the case that was heard by the Supreme Court. I’m not sure if their records go back that far, otherwise you might be able to try one of the subscription based services like CaseBase, they usually have more extensive electronic records, these might be available on site at the National Library.

justbands justbands 2:49 pm 18 Sep 07

I don’t know much about it…but I’m sure it was at JD’s.

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