- Oct 24, 2006
Seems that two RAN sailors assualted a San Diego man over an argument over Aussie football Vs American football and politics...Jeeez. The two face up to 7 years in prison. Believe you me they do not want to go to prison in the state of California.
By Angelica Martinez
UNION-TRIBUNE BREAKING NEWS TEAM
3:20 p.m. January 24, 2008
SAN DIEGO – Two Australian Navy engineers have been ordered to stand trial on battery and assault charges in connection with the beating of a San Diego man following an argument that included a debate about American versus Australian football.
Philip Graeme Ferres, 27, and Kolis Barba, 25, appeared for their preliminary hearing Thursday morning. The men are accused of beating Jeffrey Wilkinson, 28, early Nov. 22 after a night of drinking downtown. Their trial is scheduled to begin March 14.
Wilkinson testified that he met the sailors for the first time at Moose McGillycuddy's in downtown San Diego the night before while he was out with friends.
The sailors, who were in San Diego for a six-day shore leave, had been scheduled to depart on HMAS Sydney the following day. The night before, the group moved from the bar to an after-party at an apartment complex on C Street and Broadway, Wilkinson said.
At the apartment, Wilkinson said he and several others drank and smoked marijuana. He said the sailors, who did not use drugs at the apartment, became involved with him in a “heated” discussion about politics and the differences between American and Australian football.
Wilkinson said the men stood near the front door of the second-story apartment and he didn't feel he could safely leave. He said his only option was to jump from the balcony to the roof of a car parked on the street.
“I walked over to the balcony, looked down, saw the car, hung myself over the balcony and jumped off,” he said.
Wilkinson said he ran from the building and around the corner, then started to walk to his apartment about two miles away when he heard footsteps.
“I turned around and I saw the defendants,” Wilkinson said. “I started running and I looked behind me, and I got hit on the side of the face.”
Nearby residents testified that they saw Ferres and Barba beat Wilkinson outside the building. “One guy was screaming, saying 'help me,' 'help me,'” said resident Leticia Cuenca.
Cuenca's apartment manager, who also testified, said she saw the men hit and kick a man on the ground. She called police.
The sailors were arrested moments later. The men told police that Wilkinson threatened them, saying “you're dead, you're dead,” and pointing his hand at them in the shape of a gun, said police Detective Manuel Merced Garcia.
The sailors' defense attorney, Matthew J. O'Connor, told Judge Charles G. Rogers that the incident stemmed from the sailors feeling threatened, and not just about a difference of opinion on politics and football.
“They were in fear that Wilkinson was going to arm himself and they didn't want him to be armed,” O'Connor said. In addition to assault and battery charges, Ferres faces a charge of possession of cocaine, prosecutor Patrick Ojeil said. If convicted on all charges, Barba faces seven years in prison and Ferres faces seven years and eight months, Ojeil said. Each of the sailors posted $50,000 bail