Bouncer accused after hotel patron loses teeth

POLICE are investigating an alleged assault in which a 21-year-old man lost three teeth and was knocked unconscious outside the Kent Hotel in Hamilton.

The incident has led to questions about the behaviour of bouncers in the city’s pub and club scene.

Newcastle crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey said police were ‘‘looking at the conduct of members of the public and staff at the Kent’’.

The victim of the alleged assault Sam Moss, of Charlestown, is recovering after dental surgery.

His mother, Lake Macquarie councillor Phillipa Parsons, recounting several statements from witnesses, alleged that a bouncer ‘‘king hit’’ her son about 1am on Friday, May 18, in an unprovoked attack.

A Kent Hotel spokesman rejected suggestions that a bouncer had offended.

‘‘From what I know that’s incorrect,’’ the spokesman said.

Police are investigating an incident that allegedly occurred inside the hotel, before spilling onto the street.

It was following this incident that the attack allegedly occurred.

The investigation was in its early stages and no charges had been laid, police said.

Cr Parsons, a former police officer, said a dentist confirmed her son’s injuries were consistent with a ‘‘hit to the left-hand side of the face’’.

She alleged the attack sheared off three of her son’s teeth.

The alleged assault caused her son to fall onto the road and become unconscious, she said.

‘‘My son has nerve damage to the three teeth and he will lose them,’’ she said.

‘‘He also has head injuries, cuts to his forehead and nose and a swollen face.’’

The incident left her feeling like she was living in the ‘‘wild west’’.

She alleged pub security was ‘‘an under-regulated cowboy industry’’.

The Kent’s spokesman disagreed, saying it was a ‘‘massively regulated industry’’.

The spokesman said bouncers underwent ‘‘rigorous training’’ and the company that supplied his hotel with bouncers was ‘‘very professional’’.

University of Western Sydney Professor in Sociology and Criminology Stephen Tomsen said his research showed bouncers were responsible for about one-third of all serious and unwarranted assaults related to pub violence.

‘‘That may have dropped since [his research], but this would certainly not have gone away as an issue,’’ Professor Tomsen said.

‘‘Many of these incidents appear to be an aggressive overreaction to a perceived insult or a gesture of disrespect.’’

Professor Tomsen said NSW and other Australian states had made ‘‘repeated attempts to clean up the industry and instil better training and monitoring of private security doing this work’’.

‘‘However, they [bouncers] are still often involved in fights and assaults with and against patrons and a lot of these are probably avoidable,’’ he said.

He said in his view fewer incidents would occur if ‘‘we focused less on the individual response to attacks and if there was an automatic suspension of venue operation in cases of an apparent unjustified assault on any patron’’.

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