10 people arrested for assaults in blitz on alcohol-fuelled violence in Cairns CBD
THE ugly side of the Far North's festive season celebrations has been exposed, with the region accounting for more than a third of the state's assaults during a weekend crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence.
Operation Unite saw police from across Australia and New Zealand beef up patrols at drinking and hot spots on Friday and Saturday nights in a bid to curb alcohol-related trouble.
The Far North had the unenviable claim to 10 of 28 statewide arrests over booze-fuelled assaults at the weekend, including an allegedly unprovoked attack on a 30-year-old man at Gilligan's early Saturday morning.
Police said the man was drinking with friends at the night spot's bar about 2.45am when a 33-year-old man allegedly punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground.
The victim was knocked out by the blow and paramedics were called.
He was later flown to Townsville Hospital where he remained under observation last night with what is believed to be bleeding to the brain.
Across the Cairns, Innisfail and Mareeba districts, 213 police were deployed resulting in 63 arrests, while 31 liquor incident reports were handed down to pubs and clubs.
Twenty drink-drivers were arrested and police performed 125 tip-outs during the operation which ran from 6pm Friday through to 6am Sunday.
In another violent incident on Friday night, a 60-year-old man drinking at the Railway Hotel was allegedly glassed by a 48-year-old man about 8.30pm.
The man suffered large cuts to his forehead and was taken to Cairns Base Hospital where he received stitches.
In both cases, the alleged offenders responsible for the alleged attacks were arrested and charged.
Cairns Police Inspector Jim Plowman said the number of "nasty'' assaults soured a weekend where most revellers were reasonably well behaved.
"No matter how responsible a venue is, you're always going to get the odd idiot who creates problems,'' he said.
"I would be very happy if we deployed a lot of police and they weren't required to take any enforcement.''
Two dogs from the Brisbane Drug Detection Dog Squad were also deployed outside Cairns night spots during the operation.
Across the state, 441 charges were laid and 119 motorists were caught drink-driving during the two-day blitz.
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On the nose: Drug detection dogs were in action outside Cairns clubs as part of Operation Unite. Picture: STEWART McLEAN