16 February 2023

'Racial slur' allegedly started Australia Day assault that left two brothers unconscious

| Albert McKnight
Two men on security camera

Police released this image of two suspects around the time of the Garema Place assault on 26 January 2023. Photo: ACT Policing.

An allegedly brutal Australia Day assault in central Canberra that left two brothers unconscious was said to have started over a “racial slur”.

William Juan David Rendall and his co-defendant are alleged to have put the brothers, aged 19 and 22, in hospital with ongoing injuries after the fight in Garema Place in the early hours of 26 January 2023.

The brothers had spent an evening with their cousins and were walking along the street when one allegedly got into an argument with the co-defendant.

This allegedly escalated into a fight before Mr Rendall and the other brother became involved.

In the alleged beating that followed, the attacks on the brothers included being hit in the face, kicked in the chest, thrown down and stomped on before both were punched into unconsciousness while on the ground.

While one of the brothers was unconscious, Mr Rendall allegedly stomped on his head six times. Meanwhile, the co-defendant allegedly kicked both brothers in the head.

The defendants allegedly dragged both the brothers a short way before dropping them, then Mr Rendall allegedly stomped on one again several times.

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A crowd surrounded the brothers when police arrived. They were still unconscious and were taken to hospital.

One brother, released several hours later, has issues with his vision due to the attack. It was two weeks until the other was discharged from hospital and he has ongoing issues with his memory and balance.

Police spoke to Mr Rendall at his home in Belconnen on 10 February, in which he apparently admitted that he and the co-defendant had been in a fight with the brothers that night after he was racially abused. He also claimed he had been acting in self-defence.

When the 29-year-old applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (13 February), Magistrate James Lawton said it had been alleged that the fight had been the result of a “racial slur”.

Prosecutor Timara Callaghan, who opposed bail, claimed it had been a violent, unexplained attack and noted the “sheer level of violence alleged”.

She also alleged Mr Rendall and the co-defendant appeared to have paused to have a conversation during the assault.

Mr Rendall’s lawyer, Madison Fieldus of Kamy Saeedi Law, said her client had no criminal history and the incident had been captured on closed-circuit television footage.

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Magistrate Lawton noted how Mr Rendall had admitted his participation in the fight and said he was “somewhat bemused” that police had arrested him and summonsed the co-defendant to appear in court in the future.

Bail was granted on conditions that include a curfew and not being in a public place while under the influence of alcohol. The matter was adjourned to 6 March.

He has been charged with three counts of assault and one count of affray.

The co-defendant has not been named as it was understood he has not yet appeared in court.

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