News People Gyngell takes blame for brawl

Gyngell takes blame for brawl

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• Packer, Gyngell failed as ‘men, leaders, parents’

Nine CEO David Gyngell has claimed full responsibility for starting a fight with longtime friend James Packer as police ask for witnesses to come forward.

A statement read on Channel Nine on Tuesday said Mr Gyngell “fully accepts that he was instigator of the incident and that clearly if he had not turned up at Packer’s premises in an angry mood then the confrontation would never have occurred”.

Gyngell also promised to cooperate with police as they look into the matter to decide whether charges should be laid.

“David Gyngell respects the job police do and will co-operate fully with their investigation,” the statement read.

The Sunday afternoon street brawl left both men with more than just bruised reputations; Packer has since been photographed sporting a black eye while leaving his Bondi home.

Unlike Gyngell, the casino billionaire has made no further comment on the fight, lunching with one of Mr Gyngell’s media rivals, Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes before flying to Melbourne on his private jet.

Mr Stokes said Packer was “probably a little bit bruised but otherwise OK”.

Sydney eastern suburbs police commenced the investigation on Tuesday, door knocking neighbours to ask for witnesses, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Police confirmed they had not received a formal complaint regarding the matter but wanted to talk to any witnesses.

University of NSW associate law professor Alex Steel said police could investigate a breach of the law regardless of whether a formal complaint had been made.

“In this case, given they have photos and witnesses, the crime of assault definitely applies,” he told AAP.

“But the police have always got a discretion whether they think it’s in the public interest to take a breach of the law and prosecute it.”

Professor Steel doubts police will decide prosecution is in the public interest.

According to reports, the fight was sparked by an angry text message from casino mogul Mr Packer to Mr Gyngell, demanding he remove a Nine Network news truck from outside his home.

Mr Packer had recently arrived back in Sydney from Jerusalem and Mr Gyngell is heard yelling in a video of the incident: “I didn’t even know you were in f***ing Australia.”

The brawl happened just days after model Miranda Kerr, with whom Mr Packer has been rumoured to be romantically involved, returned to Australia on May 2.

Mr Packer’s neighbour Chris Walker said the fight also followed a telephone exchange between the pair.

“There was no hesitation between either of them,” he told radio station 2Day FM.

“Mr Gyngell recognises Packer, Packer recognises him and they just … that fight was premeditated because the phone call was saying, ‘I’m going to knock your block off’.”

-with AAP