An alleged Tongan Comanchero kingpin has been jailed over his role in a wild strip club brawl, despite denying he was a member of the feared bikie gang.
Paea Talakai pleaded guilty to affray over the infamous 2017 incident at Canberra’s Capital Men’s Club and was on Tuesday sentenced to five months behind bars.
The 27-year-old, who was seen shirtless in CCTV footage shown in court, was among dozens of bikies throwing wild punches during the brutal 10-minute fracas.
About 100 Commancheros were in Canberra for the gang’s ‘national run’ at the time of the fight.
Talakai told the court he was invited by a friend ‘to support him and the run’, but claimed he had no intention of joining the Comancheros.
‘I just thought it would just be a new experience… I just wanted to see what it was about,’ he said, according to the ABC.
Talakai claimed he was only seen wearing Comanchero colours because a person he had never met handed him a club jumper, which he put on.
Prosecutor Anthony Williamson accused Talakai of ‘lying through his teeth’, to which he responded: ‘Certainly not, sir,’ the Canberra Times reported.
Mr Williamson questioned Talakai on why he would be wearing the jumper, knowing there would be repercussions for a non-member who donned club colours.
‘You knew there was a risk of violence by wearing a Comancheros top when you are not a member and you wore it anyway,’ Mr Williamson said, according to the ABC.
The prosecutor told the court Talakai’s explanation was ‘utterly ridiculous’.
Magistrate Glenn Theakston agreed and sentenced Talakai to five months jail and a four-month good behaviour order.
Five more alleged Comanchero members are expected front court over the incident in the coming weeks.
The fight began when an argument broke out among a small group of men in a smoking section, before it escalated and spilled into the main area of the club.
Dozens of bikies were seen in CCTV footage abandoning their drinks, ripping off their t-shirts and throwing fierce punches in all directions.
The footage showed one man lying unconscious on the ground as he was repeatedly kicked and punched.
Male model gang member, Hasan Topal allegedly earned his stripes at the 2017 altercation after he smashed a glass into his own face at the strip club.
It is understood an internal dispute between Victoria and New South Wales Comanchero factions may have fuelled the violence.