‘Solidly middle-class’ Islander fined for knocking man unconscious in Aussie street brawl

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A ‘SOLIDLY middle-class’ Islander who knocked a man unconscious on the streets of Sydney during an alcohol-fuelled brawl has been fined $2,000 and ordered to complete a two-year community corrections order.

According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, James Murphy (27) was on a night out in the Kings Cross area of the city at around 1.20am when the incident – involving a number of other men from England, Scotland and the Channel Islands – took place.

During Murphy’s sentencing, the court heard that he knocked James Paterson out after Paterson allegedly repeatedly kicked one of Murphy’s friends while they were unconscious.

Video footage, which has been played on national media, shows Murphy wrestling with Paterson before punching him in the face, causing him to fall down unconscious into a gutter.

The incident happened just hours before the Anzac Day dawn service – a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand which commemorates all those who served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

Credit: 7NEWS (24982825)

Islander Christopher Ware (29) was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to affray in April in relation to the same incident.

Liam Beckford, also from Jersey, along with Paterson and Cormack Mulally, have pleaded not guilty to charges of affray.

No one suffered significant injuries as a result of the fight and all are understood to have refused treatment from paramedics, who stated that those involved smelt strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and, according to court documents, were ‘unable to be reasoned with rationally’.


Credit: 7NEWS (24982918)

During Murphy’s sentencing on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Allen likened the brawl to Neanderthals trying to assert their ‘misplaced manhood’, cowboy bar fights from the Wild West, or the law of the jungle, where the strong brutalise the weak.

He described Murphy, a Bondi Beach-area painter, as a ‘solidly middle-class’ tradesman, who, despite enjoying a very privileged start to life and travelling across the world, had stooped to ‘juvenile, puerile, reckless brutality’ in Australia.

‘Have you really told your parents what you have done with all that privilege? With all that opportunity?’ Mr Allen said.


‘This country doesn’t want people that do this. No country does.’

He told Murphy that if he wanted to punch people again he should do it in a boxing ring rather than punching strangers in the street.

‘No civilised community will accept this kind of conduct. You turn on your heel young man, and you walk away,’ he said.

‘That’s the sign of a real man. That’s the sign of a real grown up.’

The court heard that Murphy and his family were ‘significantly embarrassed’ and that he wanted to return to Jersey ‘as soon as possible’, despite his visa not expiring until November.

Liam Beckford, James Paterson and Cormack Mullally are due back in court on 2 July.

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor


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