A sickening punch to a young woman enjoying a night out in Mandurah, caught on camera in the Smart Street Mall has left the city’s local government and police frustrated.
Shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, police were called to the city’s popular party hotspot following reports of a disturbance.
After being refused entry to a nightclub, Melbourne-based siblings Callan Patrick Gilligan, 21, and Kayla Ann Gilligan, 24, allegedly engaged in a verbal and physical altercation with the club’s security staff and onlookers.
Police allege after the initial brawl with security, Mr Gilligan struck the woman to the face, causing her to fall to the ground.
It will also be alleged that when a man came to assist the victim, Ms Gilligan bit him on the jaw, breaking his skin.
The Victorian duo, who originally hail from Mandurah, pleaded not guilty to a number of charges, including assault and disorderly behaviour, when they appeared at the local magistrates court on Tuesday morning.
Large police presence in Mandurah’s Smart Street Mall last night after a girl was knocked unconscious by a male on Friday. It comes just months after a couple were assaulted in a brick attack. The area is a hotspot for antisocial behaviour. Video: Supplied/Snapchat. #PerthNewspic.twitter.com/verSYOHhwd— Texas Reeks (@TexReeks) July 29, 2018
Speaking to the media days after the incident, Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams admitted the footage of the incident was “confronting” and local government was working hard to prevent antisocial behaviour in the area.
“It's a confronting piece of footage but the reality is these sorts of incidents happen in cities all across the world. That doesn't make it ok but we're working hard to make sure that we reduce those incidents in our city as soon as possible,” Mr Williams said.
The incident comes months after a young couple was seriously injured in the street during a violent brick attack.
Mandurah Police Station officer in charge Senior Sergeant Darren Hart said it was still unclear what fuelled the outrage but maintain his stance that the area wasn’t “crime hotspot”.
“Crime is down from what it has been previously and I'm pretty confident that we will work hard to keep it that way,” he said.
“Incidents like this one are a rarity. They're not the norm. It's an exception for this sort of thing to happen in Mandurah.”
Mr Williams backed up that statement and commended local police for their hard work in the area.
“Mandurah's crime rates are on the decline. Over the last two years we've seen a 14 per cent reduction in crime in our city and police are telling us this has been the safest start to the year of any year in the past five years,” he said.
“So this is an anomaly and we’re aware of the fact that police are working hard to address these incidents, as are we on a number of fronts.”
Mr Williams said there were a number of short-term and long-term strategies the City of Mandurah were using to deter negative behavior.
“In the short term, we've just set up a city centre business unit specifically focused on the activation of our [CBD],” he said.
“We want our city centre to be a safe thriving centre, a place that people want to come to and enjoy. People coming out and activating the spaces and making it safer.
“We're also working on a Mandurah Liquor Accord that we've set up recently to ensure that our local vendors and our local traders aren't selling alcohol to our underage people and are very aware of safe alcohol consumption in our venues.”
Mr Williams said local government was also working on early intervention programs in schools to ensure students were aware of the dangers of drug and alcohol consumption.
When quizzed whether local officers would ramp up their presence in the CBD, Senior Sergeant Hart vowed Mandurah Police would continue to conduct regular patrols during peak times and act quickly and decisively when incidents do arise.
“We have an increased presence in the CBD and the marina and we regularly run operations around there to try to prevent this sort of incident from happening,” he said.
“We roster our resources to try to provide the best possible respond during those peak demand times.
“We had seven vehicles at the scene within a very short space of time.
“I'm pleased to say that we responded appropriately. I do stand by that.
“There has been two serious incidents in the mall at night time in the last six months and they've both been resolved very quickly.”
He urged visitors coming to Mandurah to enjoy themselves to act responsibly.
“Mandurah is a beautiful place to live and to visit and we work pretty hard and closely with the council to keep it that way,” Senior Sergeant Hart said.
“By all means come to Mandurah and enjoy yourself but don't come here and act badly. We will act decisively and you will be arrested.”