Brian Bugden and Johann De Joodt were holding hands outside Metro Shopping Centre while waiting for a bus at around 9pm last Wednesday night when a group of people started making homophobic remarks to them.
“They were right in our faces, it was so quick and so full-on. It was mostly really like gibberish that I couldn’t understand but they did use homophobic language,” Bugden told the Star Observer.
Bugden was allegedly struck in the face by a middle-to-younger aged man from the group after he stood up for himself and his partner.
The blow left him with a bloodied lip that required four stitches. Bugden was forced to take two days off work as a result of his injuries.
According to the police and the couple, witness accounts were taken from the alleged attacker, the couple and security at a nearby club.
Queensland Police confirmed that the alleged attacker was not detained and later let go without charge.
“An independent witness then provided detailed information to police that is inconsistent with the information initially provided to police by the alleged complainants,” the Queensland Police Media Unit stated.
“On the information provided, the reasons for arresting a person… were not present.”
Bugden expressed confusion as to why the police chose not to at least detain the alleged attacker.
“I assumed that he would be held or at least taken to police station and questioned,” he said.
The couple also alleged that the police officers on the scene appeared unsympathetic and left them feeling “like criminals” while they provided their accounts after the alleged assault.
“They made it feel that if I went to make a charge we’d be in trouble,” Bugden said.
However, officers at Fortitude Valley police station later confirmed to the couple that they were listed as victims “and did nothing to warrant the attack”.
The couple said that they were informed by police that a statement could be provided later, so they visited Fortitude Valley police station the following day to make one. They said they asked for a LGBTI liaison officer to provide a statement – as they only felt comfortable dealing with them – but there was no-one in that role present.
The couple said that the police made phone calls to local stations in search of one, but were told none had any liaison officers on duty and that the next officer wouldn’t be available until 10pm that night.
Queensland Police stated that they could only have specialised liaison officers on duty when they were rostered on.
The couple have indicated they would make a statement to police today.
Queensland Police declined to make any further comment pending the couple’s statement and further developments with the case.