'Dracula's' back: pub worker granted bail after victim suffers brain damage

TROUBLE BREWS: A hotel employee has been allowed to return to work while he's on bail for an assault charge.
TROUBLE BREWS: A hotel employee has been allowed to return to work while he's on bail for an assault charge.

“DRACULA is back in charge of the blood bank”.

That statement came from police prosecutor Sergeant Andy Bobin after he argued Viliami Mataele should not be allowed to work as a responsible service of alcohol marshal at the Metropolitan Hotel in Byng Street after he was accused of pushing a patron down pub stairs and causing brain damage.

The victim suffered bleeding on the brain as a result of Mataele’s alleged actions. 

“I wouldn’t be allowing him to work in any licensed premises,” Sergeant Bobin said. 

Mataele, who was also known as William George Toovey, William Tova and Lufe Paluno, appeared in Orange Local Court on Thursday to have his bail varied so he could work at the pub on Friday and Saturday nights. 

His solicitor Andrew Rolfe said owner of the Metropolitan Hotel, Gary Ziebarth, who was in court to support his staff member, needed him because it was difficult to find someone for that line of work. 

He said his client had only one previous conviction for assault, 11 years ago. 

Initially, the 49-year-old Autumn Street resident was granted bail, after the alleged April 5 assault, provided he did not approach the pub, but Mr Rolfe said the condition should be removed because the alleged victim had been banned from the Metropolitan therefore there would be no risk to the victim. 

On April 5 the victim had been removed from the pub by Mr Ziebarth for verbally abusing another patron at about 2pm, but the victim returned at around 9.30pm. 

According to police statements, Mr Ziebarth and Mataele were observed on CCTV cameras to have a conversation in the poker room, Mr Ziebarth then walked out of the room and Mataele followed the victim to the pool table room.

He then allegedly pushed the victim twice, followed him towards the back stairs, pushed him again then slapped him causing the victim to fall down the stairs and hit his head on the bitumen.

He was flown to Westmead Hospital the next day with a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain. 

Magistrate Terry Lucas, granted the variation.

The case is due back before court in the coming weeks.