A 29-year man from Double Bay was found guilty of bashing two teenage girls in the hours following this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, and has been sentenced to 20 months in prison, the ABC reported.

Jesse MacKenzie, blamed the girls aged 15 and 16, who were dressed in rainbow outfits for Mardi Gras, for the assault. The incident  took place at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont on Saturday March 6, 2021.In video evidence submitted to the court, three fully grown men were seen assaulting the young girls.

Update: Jesse Mackenzie earlier this week lodged a severity appeal, claiming that the 20 month jail time imposed for his shocking attack on two teenage girls was an excessive sentence.

Magistrate Claire Farnan has  granted Mackenzie bail to attend a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility with a September 16th court date now set out for the district court of New South Wales to hear his appeal.

Brutal Attack

MacKenzie is seen punching one of the girls, and then dragging one of the other victims by her hair over a ledge with a one metre drop and pushing her over. When she is on the ground, MacKenzie’s friends Hong Ben Lee and William Shepley repeatedly stomp her on her head.

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Hong Ben Lee, received a two-year community corrections order and 150 hours of community service for his involvement, while William Shepley, awaits sentencing, expected later this month.

As reported by Star Observer at the time, the Pyrmont incident was just one in a number of violent incidents to happen in the hours directly after this year’s Mardi Gras Parade.

ABC reporter Mark Reddie reported to police after he faced a homophobic attack, while local resident Steven Collins and his boyfriend were targeted twice within a span of five minutes at the corner of Riley and Oxford Street.

Lawyers Claim It Was  Mistake, But Judge Rules ‘No Remorse’

Mackenzie apologised to his victims via written letter, but then went on to claim that they had  “antagonised” him, the ABC report said.

Magistrate Robert Williams had rejected his bail application in March and had relied on the fact that at the time of the incident MacKenzie was subject to no less than five community correction orders. Just a week before the incident, he was placed on a two-year correction order for allegedly assaulting another woman last year.

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MacKenzie claimed that a video of the brawl showed an ongoing course of behaviour. According to the ABC, police prosecutor Chris Manning told the court that there were “multiple opportunities” for MacKenzie to walk away from the brawl, but instead he chose to “stay and he chose to engage in these behaviours”.

His lawyers claimed that MacKenzie had acknowledged that he had made a mistake but he was intoxicated and this clouded his decisions. They said that MacKenzie had lost his sister to suicide last year, which resulted in him turning to alcohol and substance abuse. MacKenzie had also been assaulted while in custody, they claimed.

Magistrate Clare Farnan considered that the accused had led a “somewhat troubled” life, but also noted that his “remorse was limited”, the ABC said. MacKenzie will have to spend another six months in prison as the court said that he will be not eligible for parole any earlier than January 2022.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

 

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