22 February 2024

Women 'catcalled', abused in Civic before man launched assaults

| Albert McKnight
Jayson Travis Gregory Aldridge

Jayson Travis Gregory Aldridge, 23, was refused bail on Tuesday. Photos: NSW Police/Albert McKnight.

A young man who made derogatory comments to women walking through the City before he hit one in the face and repeatedly attacked their male friend has been refused bail.

Jayson Travis Gregory Aldridge, 23, pleaded guilty to charges of assault over the incident before he sought bail on Tuesday (20 February).

In the early hours of 19 February 2023, two women and their male friend were walking down Petrie Plaza in Civic when they passed Aldridge and a co-defendant, agreed court documents say.

As they did so, Aldridge ‘catcalled’ the women, making derogatory comments.

One of the women got into a verbal altercation with the pair about the comments before Aldridge said something like, “I won’t bash you, but I’ll bash your guy mate”.

Meanwhile, the male friend had been urging his group to leave. When he stepped forward to grab one of the women, Aldridge swung his fist towards him, missing but hitting the woman in the face.

The punch knocked her backwards and left her with swelling above her eye.

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Aldridge then hit the male friend in the face, knocking him over, and repeatedly punched him while the man threw a few punches back in an attempt to defend himself.

One of the women and a bystander tried to intervene during Aldridge’s repeated assaults while police arrived to see the co-defendant also punch the man.

Aldridge immediately made admissions to being in a fight with the man and making derogatory comments to the women, but he was released from custody and given an exclusion direction to leave the City.

The man was later treated at hospital for a broken nose, while he also had bruising and swelling to his face.

Aldridge applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday over this incident and unrelated allegations to which he has pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Legal Aid’s Edward Chen, said he had spent about six months in custody after being remanded in August 2023. He was awaiting sentencing on the charges he pleaded guilty to and a hearing on the allegations he denies.

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Mr Chen said he had never served a term of imprisonment before and, as a young man, the court would not want to risk institutionalising him.

The lawyer also argued stringent bail conditions would address any risks, including alcohol use, which appeared to be a common theme in the court documents.

Magistrate Robert Cook questioned whether Aldridge had learnt something from being in custody for the last six months, including that he would be locked up if he engaged in violent activity.

However, the magistrate still had concerns about him being released into the community. Bail was refused and the matter was adjourned to 26 February.

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