Police open investigation into Packer and Gyngell brawl

TelePolice have opened an investigation into the brawl between Nine Entertainment Co CEO David Gyngell and billionaire casino boss James Packer, with one senior law professor suggesting the pair could face public order charges based on the images already published of Sunday’s brawl in a street in Bondi.

NSW Police this morning issued a call for witnesses into the incident with a spokeswoman saying: “Eastern Suburbs Local Area Command has commenced an investigation into an incident that occurred about 2pm Sunday on Sir Thomas Mitchell Road near the intersection of Campbell Parade at Bondi Beach.

“We still don’t have a complainant but we are now appealing for witnesses to come forward, if any, and also if people have vision or photos to please contact police.”

However, criminal law expert Dr Nigel Stobbs told Mumbrella in cases such as these the photos and videos which have run in the media could be used as evidence by police.

A spokesman for Gyngell told Mumbrella this afternoon: “David of course respects the job the police do and will obviously co-operate fully as required.”

The NSW Police’s public call for information comes after yesterday’s media bidding war which saw News Corp Australia pay more than $200,000 for the rights to the images, splashing them across their various newspapers today.

Stobbs, senior lecturer in law at the Queensland University of Technology told Mumbrella: “I would think they could face charges under public order offences. The sort of offences we are talking about are conduct that people engage in in a public place which the average person would either find offensive or intimidating.

“If you are behaving in a violent manner that people take as threatening that is potentially an offence.”

He noted public order offences do not require there to be a complainant, adding: “The images are now sprayed all over the place. That’s the best possible evidence you could get with all the video evidence and the photographs.”

In these cases police often have discretionary powers over whether to prosecute, and as recently as last night Waverley Police said they were not investigating due to the lack of a complainant, but Dr Stobbs said they would need to weigh the public interest in pursuing a prosecution.

Sarah Jo Mackay from MediaMode, the photographic company which sold the images, told Mumbrella she and the photographer Brendan Beirne would participate with any police investigation.

“I have only just heard about this development and as of yet have not been contacted by Waverley Police,” said Mackay.  “As witnesses both Brendan and myself will be assisting with police enquiries if required to do so.”

A spokesman for News Corp Australia declined to comment on whether the company, which bought the images yesterday from MediaMode for a reported $210,000, would also participate in any police investigation.

Nic Christensen


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