Blacktown bashing victims Aaron Warnecke and Greg Harland say they will sue the NSW Police Force after the only man arrested over the May 2009 attack on them was found not guilty after a trial at Penrith District Court.
Harland, 28, and Warnecke, 22, were assaulted by men wielding beer bottles and metal poles outside the Seven Hills-Toongabbie RSL Cub after allegedly being called “faggots” and being lunged at inside the club.
Charges against the only man identified as a suspect in the attack, 22-year-old Brett McFadden of Lalor Park, were found not proven after a trial in Penrith District Court.
The officer initially put in charge of the case did not establish a crime scene, did not collect physical evidence and did not seek a statement from the victims until three days after the attack.
Harland and Warneke say any chance of justice they had was bungled from that point, and they are now considering legal action against NSW Police.
“Someone’s got to be held accountable here — someone’s got to be responsible,” Harland told the Star Observer.
“Our lives are never going to be the same.”
NSW Police GLBT corporate spokeswoman Supt Donna Adney has already given the couple an apology on behalf of the NSW Police Force for the way their case was initially handled.
“It was unacceptable. An appalling response — there is no other way to put it,” Adney told the Western Sydney forum on homophobic violence in March this year.
But Harland and Warneke, who have had to move since the attack and have been unable to work, say that apology won’t give them back their lives or justice.
“I’m looking after a partner with a brain injury that he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life,” Harland said.
“We are going to sue the NSW Police and if there are any gay or lesbian solicitors or barristers who are competent in this area, we would appreciate it if we could get some information in that regard.”
Update: Sydney Star Observer has been contacted by the ABC’s 7.30 Report who are pursuing a story on Greg and Aaron’s case and would like to speak to other victims of homophobic violence in Sydney. If you’d feel comfortable sharing your story on camera email [email protected]