SHAUN Rudder, the man accused of the brutal Boxing Day bashing of two women during a night out, sat impassively in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday, listening as a magistrate determined his fate.
Meanwhile, behind him, something was happening.
Four court sheriffs had quietly slipped into the courtroom and taken a seat.
Mr Rudder, 26, of Tanilba Bay, had been granted conditional bail by a registrar in Newcastle Bail Court on December 28 after being charged with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
That was despite Mr Rudder’s history of violence, which included a conviction for reckless wounding in 2009, Newcastle Local Court heard.
The registrar’s determination also came despite the seriousness of the offence and the allegation Mr Rudder had warned one of the alleged victims after the attack “not to do anything as his mates are bikies and he knows where both girls live”, the court heard.
Police had taken the rare approach of applying to reverse the decision to grant Mr Rudder bail and served a detention application on him on December 30.
Mr Rudder’s solicitor, who refused to give his name when approached by the Newcastle Herald, argued that the bail conditions imposed addressed any concerns of further offences or approaching alleged victims.
The solicitor said Mr Rudder had received a suspended jail term and good behaviour bond for the reckless wounding offence. But the bond had been called up after Mr Rudder “had a car accident” and he was sentenced to an intensive corrections order (ICO).
The solicitor said Mr Rudder completed the ICO, evidence he could comply with stringent court conditions.
The court also heard Mr Rudder would face a hearing in Newcastle Local Court later this month for a separate assault.
His solicitor said those charges, and the ones stemming from Boxing Day, would be defended.
He also denied any verbal threats were made by his client and disputed allegations Mr Rudder had any ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Police facts allege Mr Rudder had spat at Brittany Merrick during an altercation inside the nightclub before Ms Merrick pushed him.
Both were thrown out by security.
Mr Rudder is alleged to have then followed Ms Merrick and her flatmate, Brittany Norris, from Finnegans Hotel on Darby Street before sending Ms Norris a text message saying: “I’m watching you sick heafs (sic)” and another a minute later saying “behind you”.
As Ms Norris turned, she was allegedly punched to the side of the head and fell to the ground.
Ms Merrick was allegedly punched in the head at least three times and knocked unconscious when she went to help her flatmate.
Ms Merrick, 22, became an instant social media phenomenon and a poster girl in the fight against domestic violence when she posted a photograph of her bruised and swollen face online.
Magistrate Ian Cheetham found the bail conditions were insufficient to address the unacceptable risk of Mr Rudder committing a further serious offence or endangering the safety of the victims and the community.
He said it was a strong prosecution case, a serious offence and, if convicted, Mr Rudder faced the inevitability of a custodial sentence.
He granted the application, refusing Mr Rudder bail until his next court appearance on January 22.
Mr Rudder showed no emotion as he was handcuffed and led down to the court cells.