Bondi bashing victim wakes from coma
As Bondi assault victim Michael McEwen regains consciousness overnight, his alleged attacker prepares to front a Sydney court on Sunday. Nine News.PT0M21S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2zsn3 620 349 December 22, 2013
Bondi bashing victim Michael McEwen is awake and talking one week after an alleged unprovoked attack left him unconscious.
"The happiest day of my life. Michael reached his arm out to me. My boy is back!" Michael's father Robert McEwen exclaimed on Saturday. ''It is just so incredible.''
Michael first squeezed his hand, then spoke.
Profile: Police patrol the city on Friday night during a crackdown on violent behaviour. Photo: Steve Lunam
His sister Claudia took to Facebook to tell the world.
''Michael is awake! Talking and laughing, but still very exhausted … The first thing he said to me was, 'Claud, bring me some food. They haven't fed me all day.'''
The news came on the same day that a man was charged in relation to McEwen's bashing that allegedly happened on the corner of Campbell Parade and Roscoe streets in Bondi on December 14.
Robert McEwen speaks at a press conference days after his son was bashed. Photo: Ben Rushton
The man was arrested at Bondi Police station on Saturday and was charged with affray and breach of bail. He is due to face Parramatta Local Court on Sunday.
Police said investigators executed search warrants at homes in Bondi and Eastlakes in connection with the alleged attack.
Upon waking, McEwen didn't understand just how long he had been lying in St Vincent's hospital in an induced coma, as his family waited and confronted the haunting thought they may never speak to him again.
But as one family expressed relief on Saturday that the worst was over, in the next hospital bed, another victim of alleged alcohol-fuelled violence remained unconscious.
Gregory Griffin, 38, suffered serious head injuries after being punched in the head on Thursday night outside Hungry Jack's on Oxford Street.
The Redfern man charged over the alleged king-hit assault was denied bail on Saturday.
Police said Patrick Gardner, 27, had fled the scene in a taxi soon after the incident.
Witnesses said the pair had argued inside the restaurant moments before the alleged blow.
Mr Gardner was arrested in Petersham on Friday and charged with resisting arrest, assault occasioning grievous bodily harm with intent and two outstanding warrants. He will face Central Local Court on February 12.
As police continued to target alcohol-related crime at late night party hot spots, two police officers were treated in St Vincent's after a scuffle with a patron in the Sydney CBD on Friday night.
One police officer suffered a broken wrist and another was cut on the face. Superintendent Tony Crandell said the scuffle occurred when police tried to arrest the person for offensive behaviour in Sussex Street just before midnight.
Across the Sydney CBD and surrounding suburbs, police made 16 arrests, including two other assaults and one for supplying the drug ice.
Police inspected 140 licensed premises, detecting 93 breaches, most of which were safety-related.
However, Superintendent Crandell said behaviour on the streets was at an acceptable standard.
Superintendent Crandell said such operations targeting the effects of booze in the city had become ''core business'' for the police.
''Approximately 70 per cent of our jobs relate to alcohol and the misuse and abuse of alcohol, whether that be combined with drugs or otherwise,'' he said.
The NSW government on Friday expanded a trial of sobering-up centres to cover the Bondi area, the scene of the alleged attack on McEwen. The new regulations allow police to take drunks off the streets in Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Bronte and Waverley if they pose a safety risk to themselves or others, and deliver them to a sobering-up centre in Coogee.