28 April, 2010

Its all about saying sorry... Part I

Nitin Giri and Ivesh Karki were born in Nepal in 1976. Both came from privileged backgrounds. The Giri family, owners of a tea plantation, were known as community benefactors, generous in their support of local projects. Ivesh Karki was the son of a prominent political figure, the Secretary of the Forestry Commission. He was educated at a prominent, prestigious boarding school in India. Giri came to Australia to do his HSC at TAFE in Granville, after which he worked as a trainee manager in fast food. Karki came to Australia to study a business diploma, and supported himself working in fast food, and as a cleaner.

Saj Haque, nicknamed “Jewel”, was a 27-year-old Bangladeshi on a night out with a group of Bangladeshi friends on 21st June 1996 at the “Illusions” nightclub in Kings Cross.

Giri and Karki were also out that night with some Nepalese friends, ending up at Illusions around midnight. It seems there was an altercation between Jewel and Karki, arising after Jewel apparently laughed at the way Karki’s brother was dancing.

Sheik Islam, one of the Bangladeshi group, described the event:
“Q: Jewel was dancing?
A: Yeah, after a while one guy came to him and started talking to him, it appeared they were arguing.
Q: What happened then?
A: When the man left the dance floor, I went to Jewel and asked him what happened? Then he just motioned to go away from here. ‘No worries about that‘… He kept dancing for another few minutes and then he asked to go out of the Illusions nightclub, and we went to the Kings Cross Hotel.”

Rahman Mahburbur, another of Jewel’s friends, also saw this incident:
“A: I saw the man push for the Jewel… two or three times he pushed.
Q: Could you see whether they were talking?
A: No. Just I see the push and I was thinking maybe is Jewel’s friend or something…”

Karki looked over and saw Jewel and his friends laughing at his brother ‘Nog’, who was on the dance floor:
“Then Nog went over to him and I think he said sorry and all these things, and I got mad with Nog, and I told Nog why he was saying sorry to him? 'Because its not your fault, its his fault’ …
And so I told him ‘What, what if he laugh? Don’t apologise him‘, and I took Nog like this, and I said ‘Don’t ever apologise. When you apologise‘…
I just took him on the front and said ‘Do not apologise. Its no use apologising to him because its not our fault, it’s the way he’s laughing‘.
Then being a really smart arse I went over to Jewel and said ‘What, what are you making so fuss about me? Why don’t you talk to me?’ and all these things and, and, after that I can‘t recall and I, then I don’t think, what I recall is, and he started saying ‘You want to fight?’ and all these things…
And I say, ‘Lets not fight, if you want to fight, I, I‘m alone. If I have someone, when, but I don’t want, its not going to be good‘ and another bloke step in who was a good person. He said ‘No, let‘s not fight. We are like brothers, why should we fight? We from overseas.’ I told him ‘OK‘. Then it, it, somebody start, then I went out and I went to the Kings Cross Discotheque.”

Karki, Nog and some of his group then left Illusions and went to the Kings Cross Nightclub, which was nearby. In his interview with police, Karki said that when he left the Kings Cross Hotel later, he ran into two of Jewel’s Bangladeshi friends, Mahburbur and Islam. According to Karki, he was just talking to the two men when Jewel ran up to them:
“[Jewel said] ‘You wanna fight? You wanna fight?’
I said ‘If you think you want to fight, why not’?
He goes ‘You wanna fight? You wanna fight?’ And he grabbed hold of me here… right here, like this, and to my oesophagus..
… I also grabbed him, but we didn’t throw any single punch at each other, but he was the one who attacked me, you know…
… and later on, all these guys were acting, and they were saying, ‘Don’t fight, Don’t fight, Guys, Don’t fight, Why are you fighting?’ and all these things…
… then he started running, you know…
I told his friend that ‘I don’t want to fight, take him home’, I said… these friends said ‘He’s gunna take that guy to home’…”

Sheik Islam also described the event:
“A: Then the same guy [who] was on the dance floor, and some other persons in front of the Kings Cross Hotel. The guy was leaning on the rail over there and he came forward to Jewel and just asked ‘Hey, you wanted to hit me there on the dance floor’ and I mean, the arguing just started again, and they hold each other, which I tried to, you know, separate them… they hold their neck and just trying to, trying to pull each other.
Q: What part of each other were they holding?
A: I think the collar of the shirts? I tried to push them away… At that time its fairly… in his hand, holding a small knife? The same man [from the dance floor]… Then I found a small cut in my finger by that knife.”

Marburbur wanted to go home at that stage and was trying to get a taxi:
“Next I saw the guy, which guy is pushed to the Jewel. He came follow for that place, and he start again for argue with the Jewel… They start to again, for the pushing… And they are for the pushing each other. At the time [Islam] is in, and [I] got it, for the man has it for the knife, who is the push for the Jewel.”

Witnesses confirmed that there was in fact a confrontation between the Bangladeshi friends and Karki’s friends outside the Kings Cross Nightclub. Jewel and Karki in particular grabbed at each other and held on, pushing and shoving.

Marhburbur and Islam then spoke with Karki and his Nepalese friends, and attempted to apologise for Jewel. Karki replied “I don’t have any complaint about you and your friend. You both are, is good. You can go back home. But I want to see him. I want to hit him.”
There was more conversation to the same effect. Jewel was nowhere in sight at this time, having returned to Illusions.

Karki said he then returned to Illusions, where he ran into Jewel once more: “[Jewel was still saying] ‘You wanna fight, You wanna fight?’ and all this, and I said ‘Why don’t you apologise to me?’
He goes ‘You started this, because you made fun’.
He goes ‘I’m not going to apologise. Lets go outside and fight’.
I go ‘Allright, lets go outside’, and then he didn’t wait outside."

Around this time one of Karki’s group was ejected from the club for being too drunk. After this, Karki went back inside Illusions, where he saw Jewel once more:
“Then we had a big… how to say this… like, big stand off, type of thing. Then he goes ‘No, No’ and he goes ‘Lets go out’.
I said ‘Lets’,
He goes ‘You want to settle down?’
I said ‘OK, Lets’, I told him ‘OK, we’ll settle down. This is not going to happen anymore, we’re going to settle down this, and lets go outside.’
And he goes ‘OK, Lets go outside,’ because being… he being more aggressive and more powerful than me on a build, I think so, he was more muscular than me, he goes ‘OK’ like this..
And I go ‘OK, If you want to fight, we’ll go‘.
And when we go upstairs, when two of his friends come, then we, we started talking to him, and he goes ‘You know what? In Bangladesh I live next to airport, and if you guys come there you will, the taxi will take you to my home without even asking. I’m so much popular and I’m such a guy‘, you know, all these things he starts saying.”

Islam then intervened, asking them all to be friends. He said Karki replied “Its allright, we don’t have any problem with you. You can leave. But we are not going to, I mean, spare that guy.”

Karki: “Then I think one of the guys was at the back and when he heard this, he goes ‘Why you, Why you making so big fuss? Whatever you are in Bangladesh doesn’t matter. We’re here. We are nothing. We are nothing here. Why you making so big fuss about everything?’ and he goes… all these things.
…And one of the guys was very good, you know. On that one, when we started having this stand up with him, and I go to those two guys, I tell him ‘See brothers? I’m, We not going to do anything, and we, we just had a fight‘…
I said ‘We just had a fight with that guy, your friend, not, not with you guys, you know?’,
I requested like this with two [hands], like, I told him ‘No, Please can you stay out of this? We just had a problem with that guy, not with you guys. Not with you guys. Why? Why should we have a problem with you? You, You are, You haven’t done anything. You haven’t said anything to me. I don’t want anything to do…’
He is just wanting, asking, he, he started saying, ‘I want to have a fight with you. That’s what, I just want to, if you want to settle down, lets go. It will be allright because later on in my life, or later on in his life…’,
I said, ‘Lets not regretting all these things, you know?’, then to make the matter more better, so that it doesn’t accident any more, so that those guys will take him home.”

Karki showed Islam his security officer ID card:
“[I was] saying that ‘You will respect a security licence’, so that he wont fight … if I’m involved in a fight, my licence goes… so he started laughing as if he didn’t believe me…
But on the heat of the moment he goes…
That guy was a really good guy…
He said ‘OK, We understand’…
So after that, I, I think I went downstairs and stayed there for a while.”

Both groups returned to Illusions, and Jewel went to play pool downstairs with his friends. Karki apparently went into the pool room also, and stayed there for a while. He said he spoke to Jewel’s friends:
“[I said] ‘Tell sorry to me. We’ll forget about it. What’s the big fuss? Because, Say sorry, my pride is still… because it wasn’t my fault’.”

Karki then spoke directly to Jewel:
“I told him ‘Just say sorry, we’ll finish this, bro. Whatever happened, we’ll forget about it’.
But he said ‘No’. He goes ‘I’m not saying sorry, I’m not saying sorry. You guys want to fight? Lets go outside’. These are his words. Then me, at the heat of the moment, I also, I think I said ‘You want to fight? Then why not, because I’m not going to lay down and take all these offences at me which you have directed towards me'.”

Karki said Jewel was drunk. Evidence supported this. Karki was also affected by alcohol, but was not considered to be drunk. When Security officers approached the group, Karki told them that Jewel had “started all these things” and asked them to kick Jewel out of the club. After some discussion, security decided to remove Jewel from the premises. Karki followed him out, along with his Nepalese friends.

Karki: “[I said to Jewel] ‘Come on, lets resolve this, this, we resolve all these things', and all these things… He goes ‘No, we’re going to have a fight’, and all these things…”

A fight broke out between the men.
Karki: “And out of the blue, nowhere, a guy comes running and they started charging, because the guy was… this guy was here, and one guy was here, run from my backside. He goes, he slapped the guy. I don’t know, whatever… what happened…
Then I go, I started running at that guy too. I started running at that guy, and that guy, and that guy.. I don’t know.
Then somebody hit him or something, and that guy was fallen down like this, on the road, and me being stupid, being what I am, I think I kicked him. That’s definite. I kicked him… He started coming at me and so I just go… hit him once. Yes, I did hit him, like this. He fell down on the ground. And he, soon as he hit, he was ready to come up, so I kicked him once."

Karki was cross-examined about this. He was asked where exactly Jewel was when he started to attack: “He was just lying floor, and he was going to get up, so I just kick him, so that he doesn’t get up or kill me.”
He was asked with which foot: “I don’t know, because I was kicking so fast. He was trying to get up. I think he was like this, so I just kicked him so that he doesn’t get up, because everyone knows that he was the most strongest of all”.

There was no consistent evidence that Jewel was more powerfully built than Ivesh Karki - they were both around 170cm tall and well built.

Nitin Giri in his recorded interview with police admitting striking Jewel, causing him to fall to the ground. He initially denied kicking him, but later conceded that he may have “if someone else has seen me””
“Q: Nitin I suggest to you that you were seen by other people present near Hungry Jacks, that you kicked the Bangladeshi man on the ground as well. What do you have to say about that?
A: Me, I kicked?
Q: Yeah.
A: I don’t remember I kick him, no.
Q: You don’t remember?
A: No, I don’t remember, because the thing is, as I hit, struck a blow to him…
Q: Yes?
A: … I felt that it is too much for him because he was over drunk, but if I have kicked him I’m sure I’m not kicked him in his face, if I have kicked him, because I felt pity on him when he fell down, you know.
Q: You felt pretty…
A: Pity on him, like, I felt so much.
Q: You pitied him?
A: Yeah.
Q: So it, it, would it be fair to say that you may have kicked him but you don’t remember kicking him?
A: Yeah.
Q: Is that right?
A: Yeah. Maybe I have kicked him because it somebody else has seen me it means I actually have been kicked.”

He was asked about blood spots that were found on the pants he was wearing that night, and agreed that it may have come from Jewel when he was kicking him.

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