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Albion Park man Clintan Clifford faces court on affray charges after swinging baseball bat in drunken CBD brawl | Illawarra Mercury


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An Albion Park groundskeeper accused of wielding a baseball bat in a drunken, early morning brawl in the Wollongong CBD is expected to plead guilty to affray charges, despite having no memory of what he did. Clintan Clifford, 20, faced Wollongong Local Court yesterday over the incident, which occurred outside Mr Crown on November 27 last year. Documents tendered to the court said Clifford and two female friends were leaving the nightclub just after 1am when they saw a fight taking place across the road. Clifford ran across the road and watched the fight unfold, eventually approaching one of the parties involved. Read more: ‘Distinctive’ hair, tatts give away Wollongong thief in Christmas break-in CCTV footage of the incident shows one of Clifford’s female friends push a man in the group, before she then becomes involved in the fight. This allegedly prompts Clifford to take a set of car keys from his other female friend and run 100 metres to where the trio had parked their Mazda 3 in a laneway behind the Harp Hotel. Police said the footage shows Clifford rummage around in the car, opening both the front and back doors, before he is seen to open the vehicle’s boot and remove a baseball bat. He then runs back to the fight, by which time both his female friends are involved in the melee. The court heard Clifford can be seen with the bat tucked under his arm as he approaches the group, however as soon as he is close enough, he allegedly pulls it out and begins swinging it at an unknown man. It is alleged Clifford swung the bat five times at the man, hitting him in the upper body and head. Police said the footage shows the man throwing his arms up to protect his head as he attempts to block the strikes. Meanwhile, the altercation spilled onto the streets and was eventually broken up by nearby bouncers, who approached Clifford and told him to drop the bat. He initially refused, however the security guards were able to pull it from his hands. Clifford and the two women returned to their car and left the CBD. Clifford was arrested on Thursday and charged with affray and being armed with intent. He was remanded in custody and faced court yesterday, where defence lawyer Caitlin Drabble applied for bail on his behalf. She confirmed Clifford had no memory of the incident, which she described as “alcohol-fuelled”, but said he intended to plead guilty to the charges. She conceded Clifford was already on bail for two separate matters when he committed the offences but said he was a young, Indigenous man who would be vulnerable if remanded in custody. Police opposed Clifford’s bail application, noting the strength of the case and the unprovoked nature of the assault. Magistrate Michael O’Brien refused bail and adjourned the matter to February 1 for Clifford to enter a plea. The Illawarra Mercury newsroom is funded by our readers. You can subscribe to support our journalism here.

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