Minutes before North Melbourne star Jack Ziebell was attacked outside retirement celebrations, his teammate Charlie Comben was bashed inside the venue, a court has been told.
Comben was set upon by three men inside the The Osborne Rooftop and Bar in South Yarra after midnight on August 20, a prosecutor told Melbourne Magistrates Court.
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Two of the men involved in the attacks inside and outside the venue faced the court in person on Wednesday.
Ibrahim Behluli, 21, got into an argument at the bar with Comben and a friend about 12.50am, which continued to move from the bar to near a private function, the prosecutor said.
The fight then escalated and Masihullah Rawani, 27, and Abdul Karim, 29, became involved, he said.
Ibrahim Behluli (left) and Masihullah Rawani were charged over an attack on a former Kangaroos star. (Emily Woods/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP
He said Karim placed his hand around the back of Comben’s friend’s head and pushed him onto a bench, with Comben falling onto it.
Rawani and Karim held onto Comben as he tried to get up, before Behluli jumped onto the bench seat and struck Comben six times in the back of his neck, the prosecutor said.
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Another patron tried to remove Behluli from the venue, when he hit the patron in the face and kicked his groin, the court was told.
Behluli, Rawani and Karim were ejected from the venue by security.
About 1am, Ziebell was told a member of his group had been involved in a fight and walked outside to check on him, the prosecutor said.
Ziebell had to go to hospital after the incident. Credit: Seven
He said Rawani called Behluli back to the corner of Osborne Street, where Ziebell was pushed against a wall before Behluli punched him “with such force he was knocked to the ground”.
Behluli then allegedly kicked Ziebell while he lay on the ground and walked off, he said.
“He was in a very vulnerable position,” the prosecutor said about Ziebell, adding that he was taken to hospital after suffering a broken nose and cuts to his upper lip.
Magistrate David Starvaggi fined Rawani $1800 and issued him with a stern warning, after he pleaded guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner in public place.
“This is behaviour of the worst kind in a public venue, where alcohol and public patrons are attempting to gather to enjoy themselves,” he said.
“Your conduct, whilst I accept that you had a lesser role in the overall scheme of things, is intolerable and you are extraordinarily lucky that you are not facing more serious charges because I would have considered jail.”
Behluli pleaded guilty to one charge of without lawful excuse intentionally causing injury to Ziebell and committing affray by using unlawful violence.
A third charge of unlawfully assaulting Ziebell by kicking him on the ground was withdrawn.
Defence lawyer Anthony Malkoun said Behluli had only been out for one hour and there was disagreement about the prosecution’s narrative of the lead-up to the fight.
He said Behluli, who weighed 60 kilograms, was “one of the smaller ones in comparison to most of the other parties”, which the magistrate rejected.
Mr Malkoun said Behluli had handed himself in to police and asked the magistrate to take into account his young age and rehabilitation prospects.
But the prosecutor said Behluli’s offending was serious and asked the magistrate to jail him.
Mr Starvaggi indicated he would likely fine Behluli, but the case was adjourned to next week as prosecutors would like to allow Ziebell and his wife time to give victim impact statements.
He told Behluli to “stay out of trouble” while on bail, before he returns to court on February 1.
The third accused man, Karim, had his charges dismissed last week.
– With AAP