Judging from the horrible stuff we previously read, we figured that the Junie Browning brawl-and-escape story would either end with the UFC vet triumphantly dragging his broken body into the U.S. Embassy while cleverly disguised as a peasant woman, or his arrest and imprisonment in a dank Midnight Express-style prison cell, or death via infection in the jungle. No, things didn’t look promising for our Lunatik.
Luckily, the latest update to the saga is a happy one, in the sense that Browning is still alive and is being treated well by the police. Like, suspiciously well. Maybe Thailand’s definition of “manhunt” is a lot different than ours, but it seems they just wanted Junie and the dude he scrapped with to get together in a room and talk out their differences. Phuket Wan has the details:
Junie Allen Browning visited a police station on Phuket late today in the latest twist to the American fugitive fighter’s battle to tell his side of a brawl that started in a bar and continued at a local hospital. Browning’s surprise appearance with his girlfriend Laura came at the Chalong Police Station in southern Phuket. At the police station at the same time were others who participated in a now-notorious Phuket brawl.
The wounds inflicted in Browning’s fight with tourists and staff 10 days ago at a bar on Phuket and in Patong Hospital, where the injured were all taken, were real. However, the varying accounts of what actually took place and who was the aggressor leave the facts yet to be decided.
It is believed Browning opted to go to police after he or perhaps his family and friends read an article in Phuketwan in which American Denny Bowman, a Phuket resident and a warden with the US Embassy, suggested that Browning ”surrender.’‘
None of the people involved in the brawl were held by police tonight. However, the first attempt to mediate a settlement failed when the respective parties declined to sit down to talk.
The dispute between Browning and the others who were injured in the brawl leaves police with differing accounts of the rights and wrongs of the events. Several other people, including the owner of the Native bar, who was there tonight with her Australian husband, have already lodged their accounts with police.
If both sides continue to claim they were wronged, the process could be extended. Rather than pick and choose who is telling the truth, officers are likely to continue to try to conduct a mediation session aimed at finding a compromise.
It could be that Browning may be asked to pay for the hospital treatment of the others involved, and damage at the bar. Browning in turn may seek compensation for his injuries. A quick settlement would allow all the people involved to resume their normal lives without concern about charges and a criminal case being brought.
Sounds simple enough, except that the main guy Browning is beefing with, Australian bar-owner Simon Menzies, is not a reasonable man. If you’ll recall, Menzies once threatened to blow up a plane when they stopped serving him booze. And according to a follow-up report on Phuket Wan, he’s still very salty about the entire incident. Here’s an excerpt:
[Menzies and Browning] visited a Phuket police station yesterday, still walking wounded from their encounter at the Native Bar in Phuket’s beachside Karon district, a violent encounter that continued later at a local hospital. Mr Menzies yesterday showed Phuketwan the back brace he is wearing, and the 18 stitches in one hand, along with a leg wound that is home to five stitches.
The tall Aussie went to Chalong Police Station with his Thai wife, Sukanya Sisomboon, 25, who had eight stitches in a finger. Yesterday it was strictly shadow-boxing as both parties in the now-notorious brawl that spread from the bar to Patong Hospital met with police…Mr Menzies told police he did not wish to mediate a solution. The biggest point of difference in the two accounts of how the birthday party went wrong centres on which man threw the first punch…
The men did not know each other before that Sunday night but the Brownings had been invited to [Menzies's] birthday party by a mutual friend, Maryjane Castro…The Brownings say that Junie and Menzies didn’t get on from the beginning at the birthday party. Mr Menzies interrupted a conversation between Junie and Ms Castro and the fight began.
Browning’s girlfriend Laura says that only expats were involved, and that she was punched and bruised as beer bottles were broken and the fight escalated. Mr Menzies and his wife tell a different story. He says Browning and Ms Castro were arguing outside the bar. When he interrupted and told them to enjoy themselves, Browning started the fight, Mr Menzies says. Taxi drivers from a nearby cab rank dragged Mr Browning away three times, but each time he came back fighting, Mr Menzies told police.
Whether the two men will eventually settle for mediation remains undetermined at this stage.