Adelaide room-zilla bashes wedding photographer

Pugliese had told the court he was acting in self defence. Lawyers for Pugliese said in a letter to the Sunday Mail that he was "no longer a director nor shareholder of Australia's Pizza House and has not been either a director or shareholder since approximately April, 2008". ASIC documents show that Pugliese relinquished directorship of the company to his wife Amy, 24, who continues to run the business.

http://www.news.com.au
August 1, 2009

Adelaide room-zilla bashes wedding photographer
Renato Castello

IT'S the story of a pizza bar mogul, his blushing bride and the wedding photographer in the wrong place at the wrong time.

With stores dotted across the city and suburbs, Joseph Pugliese's Australia's Pizza House franchise had grown into a formidable force in the fast-food industry, employing the motto "Real pizzas, real prices" to lure customers.

But the 44-year-old's world has come crashing down, with the former pizza prince being jailed for bashing his wedding photographer in what has been described as a "protracted and violent assault" two years ago.

The Holden Hill Magistrates Court heard Pugliese entered Adelphi Studios, Prospect with a former member of a bikie gang, and bashed and robbed its owner, accusing him of withholding photos of Pugliese's wedding on October 22, 2005.

The court heard the attack on May 2, 2007 was so severe the victim, a father of two, was forced to close the business and is still receiving medical treatment for physical and psychological injuries.

The victim, who requested he not be identified for safety reasons, told the Sunday Mail Pugliese entered the store unannounced, demanding "photos I didn't have".

"I didn't retaliate, I didn't fight back, I just dropped my guard," said the man who is still on WorkCover and believes the sentence should have been harsher.

"He was in search of photos, supposedly that I have. I'd already given him all the photographs on disc.

"You can't go and attack someone in his business. I should do the same to him because I've had a couple of pizzas from him that were crap."

The man said he had to shut down his studio shortly after the attack, claiming Pugliese had threatened to "make another hit" on the business.

He said Pugliese's wedding was "hell" - the worst he had ever photographed. "I couldn't take photos on the day, it was impossible to get him to sit still," he said. "This was the worst wedding of the worst … they looked miserable."

Last month, Magistrate Kevin Edgecomb sentenced Pugliese to 14 months jail with a six-month non-parole period, over the daytime attack at the Regency Rd store.

In evidence tendered to the court, the victim said Mr Pugliese was assisted in his crime by a second man who he said also attacked him.

But Mr Pugliese told the court he had acted alone, with all charges against his accomplice dropped.

Pugliese, a father of one, had pleaded not guilty to charges of being unlawfully on the premises, commiting aggravated assault and stealing a computer, and told the court he was acting in self defence.

But Mr Edgcomb said the photographer was "dealt with" in a "violent, aggressive and forceful manner", and the attack had a profound impact on his life, both personally and on his employment.

"Mr Pugliese, there is no half measure," he said in his sentencing remarks. "I have found you guilty of a very serious offence.

"It amounts to a circumstance where a person going about the ordinary course of their business was subjected to an intrusion to that business during normal trading hours and subject to a protracted and violent assault.

"I accept as a direct consequence of the incident he has closed his business, taken steps to give his previous employee a chance to work the business, and is still receiving ongoing medical treatment today."

In reaching his sentence, Mr Edgcomb did "not exclude" that Pugliese had worked hard to achieve his "very significant business position" and that it was the first time he had been before the court for an offence of violence.

But the "seriousness of the offence" and "in particular" the impact it had on the victim, meant that he could not suspend the sentence.

Pugliese had told the court he was acting in self defence.

Lawyers for Pugliese said in a letter to the Sunday Mail that he was "no longer a director nor shareholder of Australia's Pizza House and has not been either a director or shareholder since approximately April, 2008".

ASIC documents show that Pugliese relinquished directorship of the company to his wife Amy, 24, who continues to run the business.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,27574,25869219-2682,00.html


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