Pair face court over alleged drunken brawl

By Myles Peterson

Police are appealing for witnesses following an alleged drunken brawl that took place in Shepparton on Sunday afternoon.

Two men appeared before Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday facing charges stemming from the incident that involved the brandishing of meat cleavers.

Sathasivam Balachandran, 33, and Sebastian Dirosan Apphuamy, 30, both faced seven charges including assault, affray, use of a controlled weapon without lawful excuse and being found drunk in a public place.

Both men were Sri Lankan nationals, police said.

The charges stem from an alleged series of incidents that took place in Shepparton on Sunday afternoon.

Senior Constable Matthew Krul of Shepparton police told the court the two accused had been drinking heavily on Sunday, and consumed at least two bottles of Canadian Club whisky.

About 4.30pm, the pair began pushing a third man who was also drinking with them, according to Sen Const Krul.

The alleged victim fled to Macintosh St where he met with a second alleged victim and was pursued in a vehicle by the two accused, Sen Const Krul said.

‘‘Approximately two minutes later (the two accused) arrived in a Ford van registered to (Apphuamy),’’ Sen Const Krul told the court.

‘‘(Apphuamy) and (Balachandran) exited the vehicle pointing meat cleavers at both victims (and) approached the victims in a threatening manner ... the accused stated he was there to stab the victim.’’

Mr Apphuamy allegedly put down the cleaver he was holding, placing it on top of the Ford van, while Mr Balachandran swung his cleaver in the direction of the alleged victims, according to Sen Const Krul.

The court heard Mr Balachandran was disarmed by one of the victims, and a brawl ensued which spilled out onto Macintosh St.

A passing motorist had to take evasive action to avoid hitting those involved in the brawl and called 000 while filming the alleged brawl on his mobile phone, the court heard.

Police arrived soon after and when interviewing Mr Apphuamy, he was ‘‘unable to stand up and unable to string a sentence together,’’ according to Sen Const Krul.

Both the accused now faced the prospect of deportation, police said.

‘‘I made further inquiries with Australian Border Force. They are revoking (Apphuamy’s visa),’’ Sen Const Krul told the court.

Magistrate Stella Stuthridge said she could not act on the threat of a visa revocation if it had not yet occurred when considering bail for Mr Apphuamy.

‘‘I cannot take into account an executive action that has not yet happened. If there is an order, I have to listen to it, but if it’s pending executive action, I can’t do anything with it,’’ she said, before imposing strict bail conditions on Mr Apphuamy following defence lawyer Ian Michaelson’s application for bail.

Ms Stuthridge ordered Mr Apphuamy was not to be released until the conditions of daily reporting to police and refraining from any further drinking had been explained via an interpreter and his passport and travel documents had been surrendered.

In a separate hearing, Mr Balachandran did not apply for bail and was remanded to re-appear in court later this month.

Anyone who was driving past at the time of the incident or who has any information regarding the brawl is urged to contact Senior Constable Krul at the Shepparton Police station on 58 205 777.