A 19-year-old Byron Bay man last Friday told the local court he was trying to help a bouncer do his job when he was arrested in April this year and later charged with ‘Failure To Quit’.
Samuel Northfield claims he saw two 16-year-old girls enter La La Land in Lawson Street and was trying to alert bouncer Luke O’Neill when he was asked to leave the premises.
Mr Northfield told the court he wasn’t trying to accuse the bouncer of anything, but was just letting him know that the girls, whom he recognised, were entering the premises.
But both the police and Mr O’Neill saw the incident differently and Mr Northfield was taken into custody in the early hours of April 6. Mr O’Neill told the court that Mr Northfield, who admitted to the court that he had consumed ‘four or five beers’ earlier in the evening, had been intoxicated and abusive while in the line waiting for entry to the club and he had refused him entry and then asked him to leave the vicinity.
When Mr Northfield refused to leave, Mr O’Neill threatened to call police. Mr Northfield said he was happy to speak to police and waited nearby.
Senior Constable Mark Puglisi was one of two officers who arrived at the scene and escorted Mr Northfield across the road.
He told the court that he advised Mr Northfield to move on but eventually handcuffed him and led him to the Byron Bay station because of Mr Northfield’s continued troublesome and intoxicated behaviour.
Mr Northfield, who was without legal representation, says that he thought he wasn’t charged for any offence at the time.
But about six weeks later he says he received notification in the mail of the charges.
During the hearing, written statements from police were tendered – to the consent of Mr Northfield. After court, Mr Northfield said that it was almost five months after the incident. Magistrate Michael Dakin said the evidence was strong enough to prove his guilt, and he was fined $500.
He says he will appeal with legal representation.