A former soldier appeared in an Australian court nearly two years after he intervened in a casino fight. Shane Raymond Bretag was attempting to stop a fight between “two idiots” at a casino in Brisbane when he used excessive force, hitting a man so hard that he needed reconstructive surgery after suffering major facial fractures. The Afghanistan veteran was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and hypervigilance at the time.
elbowed a man in the face, causing him to go unconscious
CCTV footage showed what happened during the January 2021 incident at the Treasury Casino. Bretag ultimately elbowed a man in the face, causing him to go unconscious and suffer serious injuries.
Trying to stop a fight
The initial fight involved one of the former soldier’s friends and another individual. The pair had already had two previous clashes that night; Bretag broke them up on both occasions. A third and final incident took place half an hour after the previous one. The security footage showed the two men throwing punches at one another on the escalator before they began wrestling close to some gaming machines.
Bretag once again attempted to separate the pair when the brother of the other male approached. Bretag struck him in the face with an elbow before continuing to try to stop the fight. Bretag realized that the man he struck was not moving and then placed him in the recovery position. He then exited the facility once casino security approached the scene.
A psychological report was presented in the Brisbane District Court, outlining the struggles Bretag was dealing with following his return from combat. Addressing Bretag, Judge Ian Dearden said: “It was that use of disproportionate force in a hypervigilant response to a perceived threat … which places you in the dock today.”
received a two-year prison sentence, which is suspended for 30 months
Bretag pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm. He received a two-year prison sentence, which is suspended for 30 months. He also has to pay AU$10,000 (US$6,765) in compensation to the victim.
The victim claims to have accumulated over AU$70,000 (US$47,357) in lost wages due to the incident. The judge acknowledged that Bretag attempted to help the victim then he realized what state he was in. The judge also took aim at the two brawling men, stating that they acted like “complete and utter idiots.”