And so it takes full front-page media coverage in the gay press, with an outcry of reaction including 80+ letters to the editor, and no doubt other behind-the-scenes action and three months for Blacktown police to serve an interim AVO.
No coincidence at all. It shows homophobia and gross incompetence, and heads should roll. Supt Mark Wright of Blacktown Police, who is ultimately answerable for his command, says they need to get legal advice before proceeding!
And his comments about this being only one side of the story? Sorry Mark, but I would believe any media before the police any day, who have a long and proven record of lying (especially under oath in court).
This is a case of attempted murder, where there is/was CCTV footage and witnesses. Wright should be removed, as was the former super of Surry Hills command. Let’s hope that at least now Blacktown Police will enforce this AVO, if Warnecke and Harland are further harassed. There is no guarantee of automatic protection in this, as this is still dependent on police doing their job.
This case also highlights the utter failure of checks and balances on police, including the police Ombudsman, in overseeing their conduct. Hardly surprising, as they are all elements of a dysfunctional, unconcerned and corrupt NSW government.
Only when the police service is cleared out of its old, corrupt and incompetent old guard and their attitudes, the good, committed and professional ones will stay. Meanwhile, The only really effective check against this is apparently the MEDIA. Good on ya, Star Observer!
— John

Hi Greg and Aaron. I’m so glad you two finally got the AVO orders.
I hope the police learn their lesson that just because you’re gay doesn’t make you immune to injuries a straight person would endure under the same circumstances.
Good on the pair of you for not taking this lying down. Neither of you deserved what happened.
— Annie
Correct me if I am wrong but in the week since SSO broke this story on their front page there has not been one story on this hate crime against two young gay men in the general media.
This would not be the case if it was a ‘beautiful young heterosexual couple’ chased down and brutally bashed with a metal pole. I’m sure the story would have made the front page of the Telegraph… and the public would be outraged.
We are in 2009 sadly still treated like second-class citizens in our own country.
— Chris
So sad that the two of you [Aaron and Greg] had to go public, in order to get any action. Congratulations to you both that you now, at least, have some comfort in an AVO.
I’m generally a quiet supporter when it comes to these types of stories in the paper but this gay bashing in Blacktown really bothered me. It’s one of the rare times I decided to do something vocal about it.
Given I didn’t think calling Blacktown Police would help, based on other comments posted on the original article last week, I called Blacktown City Council itself to make them aware of the situation. After speaking with some (polite) receptionists, it was suggested I speak with one of the area MPs.
Since Nathan Rees is the MP for Blacktown (clearly he was never going to return my calls), I was put onto MP Paul Gibson. I told him I was a concerned citizen, and that my same-sex partner and I had been considering buying property and moving to the western suburbs (”specifically looking at Blacktown”), bringing last week’s article to his attention (he doesn’t know of SSO — maybe SSO should be sending their papers to MPs/western Sydney politicians to enlighten them a bit).
When I asked him bluntly if he was able to do anything about it or if it concerned him that gay bashings are a reality in his district, he was somewhat dismissive, saying it was a police matter, that any comments on the SSO site were hearsay until proven otherwise, and there was nothing he could (would?) do to get involved. He seemed to think this was a one-off case, and it shouldn’t influence any gay person’s decision whether or not to move to Blacktown. “If you were to use the same criteria as that to decide where you might move to, you wouldn’t move anywhere.” he said.
Maybe that’s the problem.
Aaron and Greg — I can only imagine your frustration in this whole situation. Know that the community is behind you, if not only quietly.
— Kevin
I dare say, without the publicity from gay sources, this bashing would have been simply written off as ‘a couple of poofs getting their desserts’, the old homophobia of the past that really still exists!
— Peter
My sympathy goes out to Greg and Aaron. Fortunately I have never had anything like this happen to me, but I have learned to be streetwise and steer clear of potential trouble and the police, because, as this case demonstrates, you just cannot trust them, despite having gay and lesbian liaison officers.
Although there are good and well-intentioned police officers out there, unfortunately there are too many who inappropriately use the power they have, and are certainly not friendly to the gay and lesbian community.
­— Paul
As the founder of the Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial Project in 1992, I am disgusted that little has changed since we started this project.
The monument was built in Green Park and completed thanks to Stevie Clayton and Lucy Ellis. Everyone sees the nice poles. But this is exactly the sort of thing this monument was meant to remind us all to beware of. Will this ever end?
Law enforcement must take this more seriously or this is just going to perpetuate or get worse. How dare they make us all second-class citizens.
This is more urgent than gay marriage, superannuation or whatever. This is a basic human right to have equal protection against violence.
Without our right to safety, we might as well have no rights at all. The outcome is similar, if not exactly the same.
— Saint Fletcher


As Aaron’s sister, I have witnessed abuse towards my brother and my best friend Greg Harland many times we have been out together in the local area. The abuse is unwarranted as sometimes we are only having a quiet drink or a meal somewhere when these bogans swear at my brother, calling him a faggot.
When we are out at straight clubs they don’t kiss or hold hands, so I wonder why these mindless idiots would approach them and call them names.
I enjoy going out with my brother Aaron, and Greg, to gay functions and events and have a wider group of beautiful gay friends I have met through them.
Police need to take appropriate actions towards hate crimes. And yes, it was a hate crime. If you’re waiting in a car park for over two hours to bash a gay couple you not only have a hatred towards gays but you have some serious issues.
I hope to see justice done for my brother and my best friend Greg. Blacktown wasn’t the best place to grow up in, but that doesn’t mean Blacktown Police have to treat this like a bogan fight.
— Jasmine


My heart goes out to Aaron, who has had his life torn apart by this horrific and senseless violence, while his attacker goes free.
Think about the coverage of the Lauren Huxley case — public outpourings of sympathy and grief, her attacker hounded in the press. A young, pretty blonde woman is bashed and left for dead, and it’s diabolical.
Two young gay men — well, they had it coming. How many more gay people have to be viciously attacked before something is done about the inept NSW Police?
— Appalled

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