Three years ago, Anthony Dunning died after being forcefully restrained by bouncers at Crown Casino in Melbourne. The three bouncers involved in the altercation were not charged, but Dunning’s family still feels that the casino should pay for what happened. They are now taking legal action against Crown Casino, suing for damages. In July 2011, Mr Dunning had spent one day watching football with his friends and having a few drinks.
They visited Crown Melbourne after the festivities, and he was separated from the group. His friends Olivia Ferguson and Matthew Anderson were also escorted out, but they were able to find each other afterwards. They could not locate Dunning. Outside of the Velvet Bar, Dunning was apprehended by casino staff. He was tackled by a security guard named Matthew Lawson.
Security footage shows that the guard restrained Dunning until he stopped moving. According to Dr Noel Woodford, who conducted the autopsy, Mr Dunning was morbidly obese, and being taken to the ground and restrained could have contributed to his demise. Still, Matthew Lawson and the two other security guards involved were acquitted of manslaughter.
It was that same night that Olivia Ferguson and Matthew Anderson were also apprehended by security. The three security guards involved in the situation - Quoc Tran, Jacques Fucile and Nicholas Levchenko - were found guilty assault. They were fined, and Crown Casino reached a settlement with the two victims. Now, Dunning’s family want similar retribution.
They are seeking damages to force Crown Casino to account for its negligence and the excessive force that staff members used against Mr Dunning. "Crown Casino is responsible for the safety of all patrons, and also for making sure its employees, the security officers, were acting appropriately," says lawyer Maurice Blackburn.
"Anthony's family have suffered tremendously as a result of the loss of their son and brother - and they continue to feel his loss every day."