A former Rebels bikie escaped an immediate jail term but his two associates — who were defended at trial by Fremantle Dockers player Harley Bennell — have been jailed over a brutal attack on a father outside a Subiaco nightclub.
Jack Talauega was left with multiple facial fractures after being repeatedly punched then stomped on and kicked as he lay unconscious on the ground after a brawl outside Voyeur Bar after a Melbourne Cup party in 2016.
The shocking midnight attack – carried out by then Rebels bikies Peter Michael D’Abreu and Dylan James Adams and their friends Al Gerry Morais and Christopher Hallan Blackledge – was captured on CCTV.
D’Abreu and Adams — who was on bail at the time for killing Charlotte Pemberton when he drove his high-powered motorcycle into a car in 2015 — pleaded guilty to their role in the attack.
But Morais and Blackledge were convicted after a District Court trial during which they claimed they acted to protect themselves after Mr Talauega threatened to shoot them.
Their belief Mr Talauega had a gun, the pair claimed, was backed up by a conversation between Morais and Bennell in the lead-up to the brawl, in which the footballer said a Maori man had threatened to shoot him.
Sentencing D’Abreu, Morais and Blackledge today, Judge Troy Sweeney yesterday rejected Bennell’s evidence saying it was an exaggeration and he was an “unimpressive and unreliable witness”.
Judge Sweeney also said claims Mr Talauega had threatened to shoot the offenders were “fiction”.
She added evidence that Morais and Blackledge were traumatised from the shooting death of their friend Mitchell Finnerty at a Banksia Grove house about six months earlier and were hyper-vigilant about guns was “manipulative”.
Instead Judge Sweeney found the fight broke out when Mr Talauega made derogatory remarks towards the men and they reacted aggressively, not out of fear.
She found that after a blow by Morais knocked Mr Talauega unconscious to the ground, D’Abreu kicked him once to the stomach, which was a “cowardly and despicable act”.
Morais “viciously” stomped on the victim three times near his head and shoulder and Blackledge stomped on him once near the head area.
“It was cowardly,” Judge Sweeney said. “He was out for the count and you were simply joining in.”
D’Abreu, who had already served five months behind bars and says he has cut ties with the Rebels, was sentenced to eight months jail suspended for two years with supervision and conditions.
Morais was jailed for three years and Blackledge for 18 months. Adams will be sentenced next week.