A gay couple beaten with metal poles is still waiting for justice three months after they were attacked in a Blacktown street.
Greg Harland, 27, and his 21-year-old partner Aaron Warnecke were assaulted by men wielding beer bottles and baseball bat-sized metal bars. The incident followed an altercation at an RSL club 90 minutes earlier where a man, who is known to the pair, called them fucking faggots and lunged at them.
But three months after the attack Blacktown Police are yet to press charges or lodge an AVO. This is despite the fact that one of the attackers identified by the pair lives just minutes from the victims.
Harland was hit in the head by the attackers, before turning to see a group of men running towards him and Warnecke, throwing beer bottles.
I just yelled to Aaron and Corey [Aaaron’s brother] to run, Harland told Sydney Star Observer. This guy had a bottle in his hand and I’m just trying to avoid it by running up the road in awkward directions and then eventually he hit me with the bottle. I remember smelling beer. I could feel punches.
He was then attacked with a metal bar, which he wrestled from the man, before turning to see Warnecke being attacked by the same man who verbally assaulted them at the RSL.
He was running towards Aaron with the bar and then the next minute I see him whack Aaron. Aaron went down on his knees, Harland said.
He just went plonk. He was convulsing … he was just making this really blood-curdling moan, and then he just went out. I thought this was the end for Aaron, I honestly thought he was going to die.
Warnecke spent two weeks in Blacktown Hospital with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. He could not walk or talk, had migraines, ongoing vomiting and intense sensitivity to light and noise.
He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He still gets daily migraines and has short-term memory problems which have forced him to postpone his studies and delay pursuing work. He may need brain surgery and is in therapy to regain his memory and cognitive skills.
Harland also has post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot work. Both suffer from ongoing nightmares about the attack.
On the night of the attack, Harland spoke to a Blacktown Police constable. According to him, the interview took no longer than 10 minutes and no notes were recorded.
The constable was insinuating that we had started the argument. He was pretty uninterested in what I had to say, Harland said.
I said to him, -˜Are you able to get the video footage from inside the club? That will clearly show that this guy was highly aggressive to us’, and he’s just gone, -˜Don’t fucking tell me how to do my job, I’ve been a fucking police officer for 14 fucking years’.
It took police three days to get in contact with Harland to lodge a report.
Despite the pair knowing the name of one of the attackers, police have not pressed charges and have stymied requests for an AVO.
In fact police only started AVO proceedings after Harland and Warnecke lodged a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman. In July the pair went to Blacktown Court to see the AVO lodged, only to be told police had not served the papers. They will return to the court later this month.
Harland said repeated attempts to get information from Blacktown Police had failed, as had requests they treat the incident as a hate crime.
When I mentioned the hate crime stuff he’d say, -˜Don’t play the gay thing … an assault’s an assault. We don’t care if you’re straight, gay, transgendered or even bended’, Harland said.
[The constable] just keeps saying, -˜We’re looking at charging him, we’re not sure when, we might just question him and charge him at a later date.
I just feel so hopeless. Here am I taking Aaron to the hospital and doing all that, we’re having to travel suburbs away to do our shopping and all this time it’s just not being taken seriously.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police Media said, a number of lines of inquiry have been pursued by Blacktown Local Area Command, who have been investigating the alleged assault.
Those inquiries have now been finalised and a brief of evidence is being prepared with the view to obtaining further legal advice in relation to potential charges.
Further comment could not be provided on the case to protect the integrity of the investigation and any judicial proceedings and no explanation was given as to why it had taken so long for police to put an AVO in place.
Blacktown police station does not have its own Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer, but shares one with the nearby Quakers Hill station.

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