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Quiet evening at Opera Bar turns violent

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Andi Yu

A man who had a knife in his pocket and then went out for a "quiet, enjoyable night" near the Sydney Opera House ended up in a violent melee, a court has heard.

Youssef Khallouf, 31, has pleaded guilty in the Sydney District Court to affray and reckless wounding over his attack on some young men he did not know at the Opera Bar in 2013.

Two of his mates, George Chambour, 31, and Abraham Kbayli, 29, have also pleaded guilty to affray over the incident.

At a sentence hearing on Thursday, Judge Garry Neilson said Khallouf's brother's explanation that he had a knife in his pocket because he used it for work and then went straight to the bar did not make sense.

"I have been out using a knife for work and I just hop over to the Opera Bar in my work clothes and I just stay there drinking before I take this knife out of my pocket," Judge Neilsen said.

"It doesn't sound plausible to me."

The court heard Khallouf's brother had earlier given evidence that he "went out to have a quiet, enjoyable night with his mates".

But things changed when Khallouf's friend, Ahmed Barakat, pushed past a man he didn't know, Christian Hazell, at the Opera Bar, court documents say.

Mr Hazell said something to Mr Barakat as he walked away, which prompted the latter's friend, Kbayli, to punch Mr Hazell.

At this point a brawl began between the two groups of men, the documents say.

Chambour threw a chair into the melee but was tackled to the ground by a barman.

"Let me go, let me go, they're my friends, I need to help them," he said.

Security guards broke up the fight, but later on Kbayli, Chambour and Khallouf pursued the group in the underground carpark, the court heard.

"Get the knife off Youssef," one of them said.

Three of the victims, Chris Pattison, Kurtis Pattison and Patrick White, received cuts to the their hands, knees and buttocks.

The judge said the violence was alcohol and testosterone-fulled rather than planned like the "mafia".

But he said a group of men being that violent in an iconic public place could not go unpunished.

"If the court exercises too much leniency, people will feel that the justice system has failed them," he said.

Khallouf, Chambour and Kbayli are yet to be sentenced.

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