VIC Behaviour of Staff Member - Involved in Assault Incident?

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9 April 2014

Late last year I was involved in an assault incident where I was assaulted inside a fast-food outlet of a major fast-food chain. I'll give some background then lead into my specific query. I'm based in Melbourne, Victoria, which is where the incident occurred.

The incident happened during my lunch break, when I had just sat down to have my lunch. A man at the counter got into a loud argument with a male staff member and then punched the staff member in the face. The man proceeded to force his way onto the other side of the counter and the man and the staff member were locked in a wrestle on the ground, with the initial attacker on top of the staff member. I reacted instinctively to end the violence, and told them both that the police had been called and that they should break it up, then proceeded to lift the initial attacker off the staff member and move him away while restraining him. At this point, I had my back turned to where the staff member was, and before I could react the staff member got up, ran around me and punched the initial attacker in the face, while I had him restrained. At this point I and some others (by-standers) yelled to the staff member to back-off and no further violence occurred. I let the initial attacker go (my intention was simply to separate the two, not restrain the attacker for long). The initial attacker left the shop, then returned accompanied by another man, and the two of them proceeded to attack me. Though I did receive some injuries, I thankfully avoided serious injury. When the police arrived at the scene shortly after the incident was over I gave them my statement and told them I would be pressing charges against the perpetrators.

My query is specifically regarding the actions of the staff member. I had intervened simply to end the violence and defuse the situation, and I would argue that had the staff member not punched the initial attacker while I had him restrained, the incident may not have proceeded any further. Instead, the reckless action of the staff member inflamed the situation and caused the violence to be re-directed to me, thus putting me in danger. I would therefore like to know if I have any legal recourse under criminal law against the staff member and/or the fast-food chain in question. What my options are and how strong a case I may have?

Thanks in advance and I look forward to your response.
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Jasmine C

9 April 2014
Hi there,
Given the specific facts of your case, its probably best that call Victorian Legal Aid and get help over the phone. Their number is 1300 792 387.
Its open Monday to Friday from 8.45am to 5.15pm.

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
The answer, as ever, is "it depends".

The first question for you is - are YOU facing any charges yourself?
If yes, then that is what you need to focus on.
If not, then read on.

We don't have enough facts available to be able to tell for sure,
but if you think you might be a victim of crime yourself in all this,
(as distinct from a prospective civil plaintiff)
then advice from these people may be helpful: .

So far as civil action against the restaurant, or against the staff member personally,
is concerned, there are not enough facts in your post above for me to be able to tell
(also, I am not a Victorian lawyer...).