By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
A jury yesterday handed down guilty verdicts for three men accused of committing armed robberies on seven pubs, including Merivale’s Excelsior.
In May, June and July of 2011, Laurence Glover, Nathan Stuart, and a 28-year-old man who cannot be identified carried out the crimes at venues including Bondi’s Nelson Hotel, Maroubra’s Sands Hotel, Erskineville’s Rose of Australia and the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills.
Hotel heavyweight Justin Hemmes gave evidence at the trial, detailing how the offenders had struck whilst he was dining in the Excelsior’s Cantina with friends.
Whilst visiting the bathroom he received a call telling him the pub was being robbed and walked out to find two men, one armed with a gun the other with a screwdriver.
"He turned to face me and put a gun up to me and told me not to move,” testified Hemmes.
“I asked him what was going on here and he just told me not to move."
Soon after, both men ran out onto Fouveaux Street, fleeing in a car after ramming a police car that had pulled up outside.
"My friend … came running out from the Cantina and he joined me and we chased the men out onto Fouveaux Street. The first man that had the screwdriver … jumped into the black car, which they used to get away in."
The incident was captured on CCTV cameras and the footage used as part of the trial.
Hemmes told TheShout he is glad to see the perpetrators, who inflicted considerable duress on those involved at each venue, dealt with and off the streets.
“The team and I are relieved at the verdict and grateful to the Police, who have done an amazing job bringing the offenders to justice,” said Hemmes.
“A great outcome”.