Lesbian sues Crown casino after first date ends in arrest

Crown Casino Melbourne
Image: Google Maps

A lesbian woman is suing over an incident where she kissed her partner on a first date at a Crown casino bar. She was allegedly violently arrested by security soon after.

Sharon Cosgrove is suing Crown in Melbourne as well as the State of Victoria for allegedly “offensive” and discriminatory conduct by security and police.

Ms Cosgrove claims she was targeted over some “light kissing”, and the couple’s behaviour was not unlawful or indecent.

She claimed that “if a male and female engaged in the same behaviour, they would not have been ordered to leave”.

The Herald Sun reported the Supreme Court complaint alleges guards held the woman down with excessive force, handcuffed her and put her in a police van when the date ended in chaos in July 2019.

Crown confirmed in a statement it “will be defending the matter” but declined to comment further as the matter was before the court.

Ms Cosgrove states that she and her date entered Crown and bought a glass of wine at Lumia bar. The couple sat together as five security guards stood nearby watching them.

It’s alleged the couple briefly and lightly kissed while sitting at the table at the bar, after which Ms Cosgrove claims Crown security ordered them to leave.

“The order to leave was made ostensibly on the basis that the [women] were intoxicated, which was false,” the complaint alleges.

“[It] was in truth made on the basis of sexual discrimination against two lesbians who were engaging in light kissing and touching.”

Crown Security accused of excessive force.

Ms Cosgrove claims she was allowed to finish her wine before exiting, but security “continued to harass” the women.

Then soon after, it’s alleged they “totally restrained” her, holding her down with “excessive force” with “no lawful justification”.

The woman alleged she was handcuffed and taken to the Casino’s basement and loaded into a police van.

At the Melbourne Custody Centre, the lawsuit claims a bail sergeant intended to release Ms Cosgrove but reversed the decision after she complained “about the treatment she’d received”.

“The bail sergeant said words to the effect that (Ms Cosgrove) had to be punished for stating that she would report the conduct and the bail sergeant called the plaintiff a derogatory name,” court documents state.

After she was returned to the cell, a guard allegedly told the woman she “needed to learn a lesson for complaining”.

The woman claims a door was allegedly pushed over her right foot, which bled “profusely”, and guards ignored her pleas for help “for some time”.

The lawsuit claims a security guard told her “You deserve everything you get” as well as ordering her to “sit down and shut up”.

‘This never should have happened.’

Ms Cosgrove is now suing both Crown and the state of Victoria – responsible for Victoria Police conduct – for damages for battery, assault, false imprisonment and unlawful arrest.

She’s also suing a separate security company for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of personal injury inside the Custody Centre.

Ms Cosgrove claims her foot fracture required 14 stitches and she also allegedly injured her shoulders, arms and wrist. She also alleges psychiatric injuries, humiliation, embarrassment and anguish.

Slater and Gordon public liability lawyer Oliver Robertson claimed the woman’s experience was “unacceptable”.

“No one deserves to be profiled, harassed and assaulted in public on account of their sexual orientation,” he told the Herald Sun.

“We’re alleging the prejudicial and harmful treatment … has caused irreparable physical and psychological damage.

“These events understandably diminished her trust in the authorities who purport to keep the community safe. This never should have happened.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. David Braybrooke
    28 December 2023

    That sounds terrible. I hope she gets big bucks and an even bigger apology if it’s found to be true in the courts!

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