Drunk clubber punches friend’s tooth out after ‘15 to 20’ whiskeys

File photo.
File photo.

A young Ballarat man has been slapped with a fine and conviction for recklessly causing injury after a fight broke out between himself and a mate at Bluestone nightclub in September. 

Benjamin Gornalle pleaded guilty to the single charge at the Ballarat Magistrate’s Court to hospitalising his long-term friend during a drunken argument. 

The court heard the two friends, who had known each other for about 10 years, were in the beer garden at Bluestone in the early hours of September 14, 2017, when they began to argue.

The summary read to the court described how both parties were heavily intoxicated with Gronalle estimating he had drunk between 15 to 20 whiskey and colas. 

At about 12.30am, the pair were in the beer garden, along with about a dozen other people, when the victim stood about a metre away from Gornalle and the two engaged in a short exchange.

Gornalle then pushed the victim’s face to the side and in response, the victim pushed his friend backward before Gornalle placed his hands on the victim's chest as the pair continued to argue for a further 30 seconds. 

After Gornalle tried to walk away from the victim, the two were engaged physically again and Gornalle began to punch his friend repeatedly in the head and face.

He was quickly restained by other patrons at the club before leaving the nightclub while the victim was attended to by patrons and ambulance paramedics.

As a result of the fight, the victim was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital and treated for a blood nose, a small laceration to his left eye socket, split lip, and a missing tooth.

Gornalle also presented to the hospital to be treated for a cut on his hand where he was arrested and taken into police custody. 

He was questioned and charged at Ballarat police Station where he admitted he had lost his temper and handled the situation badly. 

 "I lost it a bit; I was just looking out for my own safety and probably reacted the wrong way. I'm not proud of it,” his police statement read. 

Defence lawyer Mike Wardell said his client deserved a light touch because he had cooperated with police and had changed his behaviour since that night. 

“This is a clear example of two young men who have consumed too much alcohol and ended up in an altercation; the sad tragedy is they had been long standing friends,” he said. 

“Since that night my client has taken stock of his behaviour and he recognises he needs to be mindful of when he is drinking of what can occur.”

Gornalle was convicted a ordered to make a $300 donation to the court fund.