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The Packer v Gyngell fight

Rocco Fazzari's take on the photos of the Packer v Gyngell fight, the copyright of which is owned by Brendan Beirne/Sione Chown, Media Mode.

PT0M21S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-37s4p 620 349

Pressure is mounting for charges to be laid over James Packer and David Gyngell’s Bondi Beach bust-up after police launched an investigation following outrage from community leaders, lawyers, a former policeman and victims of violence.

Robert McEwen, whose son Michael, 23, narrowly escaped death after a single punch at a Bondi bus stop last year, said it was ‘‘crazy’’ that a 21-year-old man died from an alleged one-punch attack in Minchinbury on Sunday, the same day Mr Packer and Mr Gyngell sparred on the footpath of Sir Thomas Mitchell Road.

‘‘It’s ironic that several times we’ve been on the Today program and on 60 Minutes talking about this issue, about the violent culture we live in and yet you’ve got the head of Channel Nine who apparently is unable to control his anger,’’ he said.

Fallout: Detectives quiz Bondi residents about the punch-up.

Fallout: Detectives quiz Bondi residents about the punch-up. Photo: Ben Rushton

‘‘These are two guys who are leading figures in our society. They’re successful, wealthy men. If they can’t sort out their own differences without resorting to violence, what do we expect from young kids? What sort of an example does it set?’’

On Tuesday, eastern suburbs police began an investigation, despite not receiving a complaint from either party. Detectives door-knocked neighbours and called for witnesses to come forward.

In a statement read on Channel Nine by journalist Tom Steinfort on Tuesday morning, Mr Gyngell said he would co-operate with police and ‘‘fully accepts that he was instigator of the incident and that clearly if he had not turned up at Packer’s premises in an angry mood then the confrontation would never have occurred’’.

James Packer, sporting a black eye, being driven from his Bondi home.

James Packer, sporting a black eye, being driven from his Bondi home. Photo: Channel Nine

An assault charge did not require a complaint from a victim but there was often insufficient evidence for it to stand up in court without one, said criminal solicitor Nick Breen from Armstrong Legal.

Photos or witness statements could provide sufficient evidence if no complaint was made. Mr Breen said an admission of guilt, such as Mr Gyngell’s statement, could provide further evidence but would not compel police to act.

‘‘Police have a discretion if they think the charge won’t be maintained,’’ he said.

How News Corp papers used the  photographs the company bought for more than $200,000. The images were taken by Brendan Beirne and Sione Chown, and handled by Media Mode.

How News Corp papers used the photographs the company bought for more than $200,000. The images were taken by Brendan Beirne and Sione Chown, and handled by Media Mode.

A charge of affray, when a person used unlawful violence towards another and conduct that would cause a person to fear for their safety, was also possible and carried a maximum 10-year sentence.

Former policeman Paul Miles and former NRMA director Richard Talbot made complaints to police on Monday, demanding charges be laid.

‘‘At a time when the public is very concerned about public assaults, it is wrong for police not to investigate,’’ Mr Talbot said. ‘‘Not to is to provide the message that, because you are rich and powerful, the law that applies to the rest of us doesn’t apply to you.’’

Mr Miles received a response from Central Metropolitan Region acting assistant commissioner Mark Walton confirming that the matter was ‘‘the subject of an investigation’’.

Lawyer Stephen Molloy said if two ordinary men fought on the streets of Mount Druitt, they would be charged, ‘‘and rightly so’’.

‘‘When two well-educated men commit such a crime it is less excusable than men of less advantaged background,’’ he said. ‘‘Police should investigate and prosecute if the evidence is sufficient.’’