Emmaline Stigwood | June 10th, 2010 | Gold Coast Bulletin
Tira Tararo (mother of the victim) and Stewart Kaiaruna (uncle of victim) outside court yesterday.
SUNDAY nights at Fishos were known for their live music, lax dress codes and good times — until a man died on the boardwalk out the front.
Fisherman’s Wharf Tavern hosted big crowds and steel fixer Terii Tararo ended up there on May 18, 2008, with three mates and about 1000 other people out for a drink.
Up to 20 security guards were on duty that night and police had arrangements in place with the venue to pick up troublemakers.
So when 21-year-old Mr Tararo, who was wearing a hoodie and bandanna, punched bouncer Morne Ricardo Lombaard at the front door most people probably thought they knew what would happen next.
But as a Supreme Court jury found yesterday, while no one planned to kill Mr Tararo as they kicked, punched and choked him, the actions of the security guards were excessive.
The Brisbane jury acquitted Lombaard, 30, of murdering Mr Tararo but found him guilty of manslaughter while Denis Legradi, 23, was found guilty of manslaughter after a murder charge against him was dropped during the trial.
Both were sentenced to seven years jail yesterday.
A third bouncer, Naeroa Petera Tepaukonui, 37, was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of assaulting Mr Tararo’s friend Colin Loseby and sentenced to three months jail, wholly suspended.
Outside court Mr Tararo’s mother Tira Tararo and uncle Stewart Kaiaruna said they hoped the case would remind bouncers of the law.
Mrs Tararo said despite the outcome, her strong Christian faith allowed her to forgive the men.
“I can (forgive) but I hope they don’t do it again. My son is gone,” she said.
Mr Kaiaruna said that there was ‘no excuse’ for what happened.
“It’s a lesson to be exercised out there, treat everybody fairly and to do their job according to what they are supposed to do,” he said.
“For a mother it may be hard for her to answer but coming from a Christian belief community, we have feeling for them and we feel sorry for the families of the accused.”
Mrs Tararo was due to fly back to the Cook Islands yesterday but stayed to hear the verdict while Terri’s father, who had been in court during the trial, was not present.
During the four-week trial the jury heard Mr Tararo and his mates had been drinking beers in Mr Loseby’s Arundel garage before heading out to Fishos.
When refused entry to Fishos, Mr Tararo, who weighed 130kg and had several heart problems, went ‘toe to toe’ with security guards until he was brought down.
Witnesses said Lombaard, a South African, got very angry and acted like an ‘animal’, kicking and punching Mr Tararo.
Legradi straddled Mr Tararo and applied a choke-hold while other guards held his arms and legs for up to 10 minutes.
When police arrived Mr Tararo was either dead or very close to it and by the time the ambulance got to the Main Beach premises, Mr Tararo could not be saved.
Justice Martin Daubney said the jail terms should serve as ‘deterrents to those who seek to cloak themselves with some sort of quasi-authority in the security industry’.
“Your engagement at the hotel was that of security provider. You were not a private police force. You were not some sort of paid militia,” he said to the men.