Crown bouncer Quoc Hai Tran might have attacked a mother of four enjoying a night out at the casino but he loved his job and wanted to keep working in the security industry, a court has heard today.
Defence barrister Lachlan Carter told the Supreme Court that Tran, 35, had simply been overzealous when doing his job and not involved in a pre-meditated act of thuggery.
Mr Carter said Tran, who was born on a fishing boat travelling from Vietnam to Australia in 1978, had been doing nothing more than carrying out his duties according to his training.
He said the attack on Olivia Ferguson should be viewed as an "isolated aberration".
But prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, said Tran and two other bouncers, Jacques Tony Fucile, 31, and Nicholas Vladmir Levchenko, 27, had been part of a powerful contingent of security officers on duty the night Ms Ferguson and her partner, Matthew Anderson, were attacked.
Mr Tinney said the bouncers were in a position of power and had a clear duty to wield that power responsibly.
He said their victims were vulnerable and powerless.
The prosecutor said the community expected security staff to show restraint, patience and care and to safeguard the wellbeing of patrons.
The three Crown bouncers had comprehensively failed to abide by that duty, Mr Tinney said.
He claimed the courts had to strongly condemn and punish security officers who acted with such aggression and unnecessary violence.
But the three defence barristers acting for the bouncers urged Justice Lex Lasry to impose a fine on the men and not record a conviction. This would mean they would be able to resume working in the security industry again in five years' time.
Tran was found guilty by a jury of assault, intentionally causing injury and false imprisonment.
Fucile was found guilty of intentionally causing injury and false imprisonment, while Levchenko was found guilty of false imprisonment.
The maximum penalty the bouncers face is 10 years' jail.
Defence barrister Ian Hill, QC, for Levchenko, said his client had not been looking for trouble on the night and was just doing his job under the orders of a supervisor.
Mr Hill said the marching of Mr Anderson out of the casino using a horizontal transport hold where the patron's wrists are bent back - which the jury found to be unlawful - had been "a successful extraction".
He said Levchenko was acting in accordance with his training at Crown Casino "be that training right or wrong".
Ms Ferguson, Mr Anderson, and their friend Anthony Dunning went to the casino on Sunday night, July 3, 2011, after a day at the football before Mr Dunning came to the attention of security staff about 10.30pm when he appeared to be drunk and was asked to leave by bouncer Matthew Lawson.
As he was being escorted outside, Mr Dunning, who later died from cardiac arrest, bumped into his two friends and things escalated.
Ms Ferguson slapped Tran across the face believing he said something derogatory about her friend to Mr Lawson. Mr Lawson, 27, was found not guilty in November last year of the manslaughter of Mr Dunning after he was brought forcibly to the ground and restrained.
Mr Tinney told the jury Tran was angry at being slapped and this had stung him into action.
Ms Ferguson was thrown violently to the ground by Tran before being put in the painful horizontal hold where the forearms are held parallel to the ground and the wrists bent up and backwards towards the chest. She was marched out of the casino by up to five bouncers.
Close-ups of Ms Ferguson's face from the CCTV footage showed she was in obvious pain and it was completely unnecessary for her to have been man-handled in such a way, Mr Tinney said.
Mr Anderson was also thrown to the floor by Levchenko and Fucile and forcibly turned on to his stomach.
Mr Anderson claimed he suffered a broken nose and broken elbow before being restrained and taken outside.
The plea hearing continues.