Pair sentenced over 'senseless death' on Johnston Street Date
"Mr Musa, whose parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Eritrea, and Ms Wubneh, whose parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Ethiopia in 1991, had never been in trouble with the law before."
Mark Russell | theage.com.au | February 5, 2014
Shaun Wright was killed after refusing to give his particulars to a group of strangers who confronted him during a night out in Fitzroy, a court has heard.
Supreme Court Justice John Dixon said Mr Wright, 21, of Werribee, had been out drinking with two friends when, for reasons unknown, he threw a piece of wood at Deyar Musa and Shewit Tesfa Wubneh's parked hire car at about 3.30am on Sunday, March 17 last year.
The judge said there was no evidence of any damage to the car or that it was uninsured but Mr Musa, the designated driver for the night, wanted Mr Wright's details for a possible insurance claim.
Mr Wright ran off when confronted by Ms Wubneh and others.
"The night could have ended there but as you drove from Fitzroy, Mr Wright was spotted near the Tankerville Arms hotel in Johnston Street heading east," Justice Dixon told Mr Musa and Ms Wubneh, both aged 21, who pleaded guilty to charges of affray and assault on Wednesday.
The pair caught up with Mr Wright and asked for his identification details.
The judge said Mr Wright was trying to get away from a sober Mr Musa who had grabbed him and punched him. A drunk Ms Wubneh then kicked Mr Wright's lower body two or three times before picking up an umbrella and swinging it at him, the court heard.
A complete stranger, armed with a broken beer bottle, then suddenly intervened and attacked Mr Wright, slashing him a number of times to the neck and body.
Mr Wright collapsed and died on the front steps of 104 Johnston Street. The cause of death was a stab injury to the neck.
"I accept that each of you neither intended, nor caused, Mr Wright's death but you both participated in a violent disturbance of the peace, an affray," Justice Dixon said.
"Street fighting must be deterred," he said.
"An affray carries with it an inherent danger of injury to persons or property or both… An affray can provide the opportunity for crowd psychology, mob behaviour, to determine the outcome of a confrontation. This is what occurred in this case."
The judge said the unexpected and unintended participation of the complete stranger, who has since been charged with murder, in the confrontation when he had no apparent reason to get involved and was not known to either Mr Musa, Ms Wubneh or Mr Wright "demonstrates that danger".
"The confrontation that you initiated did rapidly escalate out of your control and it resulted in the senseless death of a young man for failing to give you his particulars in relation to an incident where a hire car was not damaged."
Justice Dixon said Mr Musa, whose parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Eritrea, and Ms Wubneh, whose parents arrived in Australia as refugees from Ethiopia in 1991, had never been in trouble with the law before and he accepted that they were responsible young adults who had surprised and shocked everyone who knew them by their behaviour.
The judge said Mr Musa's conduct appeared to stem from immaturity and poor judgment and the pointless and tragic loss of Mr Wright's life had been easily avoidable.
He sentenced the pair to a one-year community service order and 100 hours of unpaid community work.