A man who was arrested, charged and convicted after he intervened to stop a homophobic attack in Sydney has had his conviction overturned on appeal.
In early 2023, Mirco Olivieri was attending a Sydney WorldPride party with a friend.
While walking along Oxford Street in Darlinghurst, he saw two men harassing a younger gay man named Jack Schmidt, AAP reported.
Mr Olivieri (pictured above), who’s gay, intervened to protect the young man. But the attackers pushed him to the ground and hurled a homophobic slur.
Mr Olivieri then stood up and threw punches at one of the men. Police officers then arrested all three and charged them with affray.
In April, Mr Olivieri was convicted and subject to a two-year community corrections order after pleading guilty to the charge.
However in July, one of the other men escaped a conviction and instead received a two-year conditional release order.
Mirco Olivieri appealed, and on Monday his conviction was quashed and replaced with a one-year conditional release order.
“This man was intervening to protect someone he thought was being unfairly victimised,” the judge said, according to AAP.
“These two apparently larger, more aggressive men – they were the ones who initiated it.”
Police criticised for handling of homophobic incident
Mirco Olivieri’s lawyer said police failed to take a statement from the actual victim, Jack Schmidt.
Mr Schmidt told the court he was “confused and upset” about the police’s actions.
“They didn’t want a statement about what I felt and believed was a homophobic attack and a gay hate crime,” Schmidt said.
Mirco Olivieri had started a GoFundMe crowdfunding page to raise money for legal fees and move on from the incident.
He told AAP the court process had “collapsed his life” but that night he’d felt an obligation to protect the younger man.
“Even the court should understand when someone is doing good things and not bad,” he said.
The man said he’d wished someone had stepped in when he’d suffered homophobia and violence in his home country of Italy.
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