The man then took off and has not as yet been identified or found for charges to be laid by Police.
It set me wondering how many times this sort of troubling and annoying incident occurs right across the nation. Now, someone in political power has not only witnessed it first hand, but has been the recipient of it. I wonder if this will now change the situation where more than likely the 'victim' gets blamed (in a surprising number of some instances).
In a wider context, how many times have we read or heard on the news when someone goes to protect a friend or some one being assaulted when that is the very person who ends up being charged and going to court.
Sometimes, the onus of proof seems to be reversed in that the 'victim' needs to prove his or her innocence, rather than being 'assumed to be innocent until proven guilty' which is purported to be the norm in our legal system.
Only a few months ago 72 year old former AFL coach Ron Barrasi found himself in this very situation. He went to the aid of a woman being assaulted and was himself threatened with criminal charges until the public outcry was such that the case went no further.
But not everyone has such a high public profile and when they see something of this nature going down, they step in, putting their own life and health at risk. Last year in Melbourne a young man was shot dead in such an incident.
I think we need legislation in order to protect such citizens who step in to help someone. At the same time, those responsible for serving alcohol must be legislatively protected to enforce, and if need be, physically remove, a person who has become unpleasant due to excess alcohol.
It is an easy thing to say, "Call the Police". The police are often not available or close by to deal with an 'immediate' incident. This is what occurred with Willem Westra Van Holthe. The situation went from a polite exchange to a king hit almost instantaneously.
No-one likes to be in the position of dealing with these instances, and as I have mentioned, it can be personally dangerous to do so.
Sadly, some social issue or relationship let-downs create a situation where some people drown their sorrows, whereas normally, they are quite sound and sensible citizens, parents or community workers.
However, the reality is that they are just as much trouble when under the influence of alcohol as is the blatant thug. While the judiciary will ultimately determine the appropriate 'blame' and/or punishment, it doesn't solve the immediate alcohol-fuelled drama.
It's not only clubs and pubs where such encounters occur, as alcohol can fuel a group mentality for 'gate-crashing' too, where people are looking for a 'good time'. Many a church function, has been invaded by someone or some group who is clearly belligerent with alcohol.
Unfortunately, it has fallen to my lot to have had to deal with such situations over my 33 years in Christian ministry and it is never pleasant - more so, as someone who is in such a state is strangely physically 'very strong'. Many Ministers face similar situations.
The same thing applies to youth parties were 'party invaders', often fuelled with alcohol, create the most alarming situations. The teenagers themselves, as well as the responsible parents who are supervising, can be put in invidious and dangerous situations. It's the classic modern neighbourhood nightmare.
Neither Willem Westra Van Holthe nor anyone else, when out for a friendly meal and entertaining evening (wherever it is), expects to face such a situation.
It is my hope that the legislation will be able to fully protect them and those who come to their aid in time of trouble. Hopefully Willem Westra Van Holthe is someone who is in a position to help enact new laws, and hopefully he will continue to make the right noises.