Man who stopped homophobic attack at Sydney WorldPride gets conviction overturned-TGN

A man who had been arrested for stopping a homophobic attack during Sydney WorldPride has had his conviction overturned.

Mirco Olivieri, 30, was charged by New South Wales police after he intervened in an anti-LGBTQ+ attack that he witnessed on the streets of Darlinghurst, Sydney in January 2023, when the Australian city was hosting WorldPride.

Olivieri, who works as a fashion consultant, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, had been walking down Oxford Street when he witnessed two large men harassing a young gay man.

Sydney Welcomes The World To Celebrate LGBTQIA+ For Sydney WorldPride 2023
A man who intervened in a homophobic attack during Sydney WorldPride has had his convictin overturned. (James D. Morgan/Getty Images for Destination New South Wales)

Olivieri, who is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, took it upon himself to step in and defend the victim, who was later identified as Jack Schmidt. But, when he intervened he was thrown to the ground and called a homophobic slur, according to court documents.

He retaliated by getting back to his feet and throwing multiple punches at one of the men. 

When police arrived to the scene, Olivieri was arrested along with the two men, despite Schmidt’s protestations.

In April 2023, Olivieri, who is originally from Italy, was convicted and sentenced to conditional release with a two-year community corrections order if he pleaded guilty.

But Olivieri maintained his innocence and filed an appeal with the Downing Centre District Court.

People celebrate Sydney Pride 2023
Mirco Olivieri was slapped with a conviction after stepping in to help Jack Schmidt, who was the victim of a homophobic attack. (Getty Images)

In court, Olivieri’s barrister Gina Edwards argued that police had never taken a statement from the actual victim of the homophobic attack, Jack Schmidt.

In a statement, Schmidt told the court that he had been grateful to Olivieri for stepping in that night, and couldn’t understand why police took the action that they did.

“I was confused and upset as they didn’t want a statement about what I felt and believed was a homophobic attack and a gay hate crime,” he stated.

On Monday (8 January), District Court judge Mark Williams overturned Olivieri’s conviction, much to his relief.

“This man was intervening to protect someone he thought was being unfairly victimised,” said the judge.

“These two apparently larger, more aggressive men – they were the ones who initiated it.”

Commenting on the overturned conviction outside of court, an emotional Olivieri told the press that he stood by his decision to step in and defend Schmidt from the two large men.

“If everybody doesn’t send the right message to the right people … the world will become a terrible place to live in,” he told the Australian Associated Press.

“Even the court should understand when someone is doing good things and not bad.”

Olivieri said that working to get his conviction overturned had almost “collapsed his life’, but he pledged to use this experience to help others.

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