Man granted bail after Auckland bar fight

A Napier man has appeared in court after a central Auckland bar fight early yesterday led to another man being admitted to hospital.

The 25-year-old victim received head injuries in the 3.20am attack, which took place in the Cassette Nine nightclub on Vulcan Lane, a popular drinking spot off Queen St. He was in a stable condition in Auckland City Hospital last night.

The 22-year-old alleged attacker from Napier appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to injure.

Community magistrate Joanna Sihamu suppressed the man's name until Monday, giving him the weekend to inform his grandparents of the allegation against him.

"They are ill and he feels that if they were to hear through the public press it would cause them great, great stress and he would like the opportunity to tell them himself," duty lawyer John Kovacevich told the court.

If the man, described as a labourer, wants to keep his name secret for longer, he must present further arguments on Monday. He was granted bail until then.

Police described the incident as the collision of the lives of two young men "and, chances are, neither life will be the same again".

"Once again, as if any further proof was needed, this event shows nothing good happens in the city after 3am," police said.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Sutton said witnesses to the dance-floor incident were able to alert the bar manager. Bar staff followed a man for a short distance from the bar "so were able to provide valuable information to police".

The man was arrested in nearby Fort St.

"Being able to monitor real-time CCTV footage in the area enabled staff in our district command centre to dispatch officers to a Fort St carpark promptly which resulted in the 22-year-old's arrest," Mr Sutton said.

Kevin Schwass, the Hospitality Association's Auckland branch president, said people should "absolutely not" be deterred from going into Auckland's CBD.

"No more than when you hear of a motor accident you wouldn't get into the car," he said.

"The fact an assault happened on premise, you can't say that the city is dangerous. On the contrary."

Ministry of Justice statistics showed 85 per cent of alcohol-related offences occurred off premises, he said.

"There's always going to be incidents such as this," he said. "But if they're happening on premise you've got bar staff there, you've got security there to take control of the situation, and it sounds like in this instance someone was arrested very quickly."

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said his "thoughts are with the young man in hospital and his family".

- By the Hawke's Bay Today

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