ACT News

Braddon man pleads not guilty to one-punch attack in Civic on New Year's Day

A Braddon man has pleaded not guilty to an alleged one-punch attack in Civic on New Year's Day.

Jordan Sharma, 20, entered the plea in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday to a charge of recklessly inflict grievous bodily harm.

One-punch attack in Civic on New Year's in Canberra

CCTV footage shows one-punch attack in Civic on New Year's in Canberra. Warning: Graphic content.

The registrar continued bail and the matter will next appear in court in March.

No documents outlining the allegations were tendered in court.

Jordan Sharma leaves at the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday.
Jordan Sharma leaves at the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: Graham Tidy

Sharma declined to comment when he left court with his defence lawyer Kamy Saeedi.

"In the current climate, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment," Mr Saeedi said.

Sharma handed himself in after ACT Policing last week published footage of the alleged assault outside the East Row Supa 24 convenience store shortly before 3am on January 1.

The alleged victim had his jaw shattered by the punch and required the insertion of a titanium plate and screws to help fix the damage.

Jordan Sharma with his lawyer Kamy Saeedi. Sharma has been accused of an assault which broke another man's jaw during ...
Jordan Sharma with his lawyer Kamy Saeedi. Sharma has been accused of an assault which broke another man's jaw during New Year's celebrations. Photo: Graham Tidy

The CCTV footage shows the victim, aged in his 20s, in a conversation with a man before another steps in and levels him with a swift punch to his jaw.

The two men walk off as one bystander is seen to rush to the man's aid. Police were called and found the man unconscious a short time later.

Publication of the footage prompted a social media storm, which spilt into the media this week.

Nicholas Stuart, a columnist for The Canberra Times, called for the ACT Government to create new law specifically to deal with one-punch attacks.

But ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell responded that current laws were adequate to punish offenders.

"Law reform should be conducted in a measured, evidence-based manner, not fuelled by public outrage," he wrote.

"There is no denying that coward punches need to stop. But there is also no evidence suggesting that laws such as minimum mandatory penalties have any value as a deterrent."

Meanwhile, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education chief executive Michael Thorn questioned whether the government could do more to prevent violent attacks, including introducing lockouts and restricted trading hours in Civic.

Currently, the standard hours for bars and clubs are 7am till midnight although they can apply to stay open longer, with 89 operating after midnight.

Forty-eight are open after 3am, closing as late as 5am, many of them in the city.

In 2013, the government launched a review of the Liquor ACT and last year received more than 30 submissions during a consultation on possible measures to reduce violence in the city centre.

Mr Corbell said the government had already proved its commitment to alcohol reform.

"Research and evidence available about what works to reduce alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour, will inform the government's decision about further changes to strengthen the community safety focus of our liquor laws," Mr Corbell said.