A tradesman at the centre of an alleged unprovoked one-punch attack that outraged Australia has been granted bail over a second serious assault – and given a private police escort away from court.
Ryan Stephen Wells, 32, caused widespread anger last week after video surfaced of him allegedly attacking a stranger outside a pub in Frankston, in Melbourne’s south, on July 26.
Wells was granted bail over that alleged unprovoked attack, with many community leaders claiming he should have spent time behind bars.
Five police officers escorted Wells from Frankston Magistrates Court while seven others stood nearby.
On Monday, Wells was charged over a second assault which allegedly happened at Somerville just six days before the Frankston incident.
Victoria Police charged Wells with recklessly causing serious injury over the alleged assault in Somerville that left a man in hospital for 10 days suffering bleeding on the brain, a broken nose and swollen jaw, the Herald Sun reports.
He was bailed because that alleged offence predated his other alleged attack caught on CCTV.
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Despite the seriousness of the injuries caused in the alleged attack, Wells was again granted bail.
Exactly a week earlier, the Frankston Magistrates Court heard allegations the tradie took cocaine, drank ten schooners of beer and four bourbon and cokes before the July 26 assault.
Shocking CCTV footage showed Wells allegedly smashing his elbow into a 43-year-old man’s face in an unprovoked attack at 7.45pm on the Thursday night.
Public anger boiled over after police released the footage, and led vigilantes to post what they believed was Wells’ address on social media.
Police last week opposed bail in Frankston Magistrates Court, saying the 43-year-old victim did not report the attack for fear of retribution.
Detective Senior Constable Belinda Rampal said Wells had been drinking at the Grand Hotel in Frankston before the attack, and had admitted taking cocaine.
Wells had also admitted consuming ten schooners of beer and four bourbon and cokes, Senior Constable Rampal said.
After leaving the venue with his brother Joel and another man, Wells allegedly elbowed a complete stranger in the face, knocking him to the ground.
Senior Constable Rampal said Wells showed no remorse after the incident, and shocking CCTV footage shows the men continue walking without looking back and then laughing while the victim struggled to get to his feet behind them.
Magistrate Ross Betts granted bail after Wells’ lawyer argued his client had a stable job, income and place of residence.
Wells, who has been charged with intentionally and recklessly causing injury, assault and affray, was given a curfew and ordered not to attend licensed venues, contact witnesses or consume alcohol or drugs.
The decision to grant bail sparked outrage among the community, with former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett among those to speak out.
‘For Ryan Wells to have been released on bail after the unprovoked attack on a citizen in Frankston is totally unacceptable,’ Mr Kennett said on Twitter.
‘The footage of the attack the most shocking for any pedestrian.’
‘I’ve never seen anything like this. We read about domestic violence, one punch hits, but never see the crime as it is committed, we hear the reporting of it,’ Mr Kennett told the Today show on Tuesday morning.
‘In a totally unprovoked vicious manner, this man lent across and struck this person on the face.
‘When I first saw it I cringed, and it got to the stage where I couldn’t see it anymore. I think it was because in part it could have been any of us. You, me, our children, our parents.
‘I was absolutely horrified by it, more so when I heard this individual was allowed out on bail. I think he forfeited the right to walk our streets … It’s revolting, horrifying, and I think it just fails every community expectation.’
Geelong Cats star Patrick Dangerfield slammed the decision after a series of earlier posts calling for the attacker to be identified.
‘Just because he has stable work and a place to live doesn’t mean he could cowardly clock someone again,’ Dangerfield wrote alongside a clip of a media article showing Wells’ work information.
Security vision overlooking the path, next to Nepean Highway in Frankston, captured the three men wearing hi-visibility clothing walking together about 7.45pm.
Witnesses say they followed a trail of blood to the victim but he refused their help and fled the scene.
Other witnesses reported hiding after seeing the horrific attack unfold from 20metres away.