Accused free but told to pay up
THE men who walked free from court after the charges against them arising from the 2010 Valentines Day Riot in Yamba collapsed did not fare so well yesterday when their legal representatives went chasing costs.
And the lawyer representing Glenn Ayres was told his client had “dodged a bullet” yesterday when his charges were thrown out.
Only three, Matthew Newell, Jarrod Wilson and Jay Winter, are still in the hunt to recover money spent on their cases, with magistrate John Andrews reserving his judgement for six weeks. Yesterday, he dismissed the claims for costs of Glenn Ayres, Robert Harvey, Douglas Pearce, Courtney Walker and Jessie Marsden.
They argued the charges against them should have been dropped before the case went to court because the police evidence was so unreliable and there were suspicions police had colluded to prepare their statements at a debriefing three days after the riot.
However, because of the different nature of a hearing for costs, the statement of Senior Constable Sidney Hill – which was ruled inadmissible in the riot trial – was available to the police case.
During the hearing of Mr Wilson's application, police prosecutor Bob Hanzic told the court had Constable Hill's statement been admissible, the outcome of the trial might have been reversed. He claimed Const Hill's statement diluted the claims of collusion between police officers and offered support to others.
Sgt Hanzic said the police brief had appeared strong at the start of the case and had only unravelled under cross examination.
He said that the police brief included statements of three police who could see Mr Wilson's alleged involvement in the melee.
“What prosecutor would not, on reading that brief, want to proceed to trial,” he said.
The arguments for costs were duplicated, with few variations in all cases.
Mr Andrews rejected most of them and reserved judgement on two.