News

Coutts man in court on serious allegations

A COUTTS Crossing man who allegedly discharged a firearm while detaining a man and woman for up to four days will remain in custody despite an application for his release.

Benjamin Lynch, 35, was arrested and charged on August 26 last year with two counts of robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, two counts of take or detain for advantage, two counts of firing a firearm likely to cause injury, all in relation to an incident which allegedly took place from August 19-23.

According to the charge details, it is alleged Lynch robbed the two adults of their phones while armed with a Winchester rifle, and detained them at an address on Kangaroo Creek Rd,

It is also alleged that during this time Lynch demanded $500 from the pair with the intention of stealing the money, and fired the rifle "with disregard" for the safety of the detained male.

Following his arrest Lynch was also charged with cultivation and possession of cannabis.

He has been in custody since his arrest and with a District Court date still yet to be set, an application was made before Grafton Local Court yesterday for Lynch to be released on bail.

"How long does this man remain in custody before his case is heard by court?," the defence asked.

The court heard that Lynch also ran a garlic farm at Kangaroo Creek which had gone to "wrack and ruin" since his absence.

But Magistrate Robyn Denes agreed with the prosecution that if Lynch was convicted of the serious allegations, a lengthy custodial sentence would ensue.

"Courts often refer to the strength of the prosecution case being a primary consideration, for the obvious reason that the stronger the case, the more likely it is that a person is going to be convicted," she said.

"In this case it's absolutely certain he will receive a very lengthy custodial sentence (if convicted), so there are many reasons to avoid or fail to appear.

"In addition to that it's arguable that he's got nothing to lose in relation to committing further offences particularly in the manner of interfering with witnesses and evidence that might be used against him.

"This has all the hallmarks of drug negotiation... and so an underlying potential for drug use/commercial enterprise in relation to drug activity which in my view could endanger the safety of the community, and again, this particular witness and complainant."

The prosecution also pointed out that the bail address was only 8km from the residence of the complainant and a crown witness.

Ms Denes advised that if a suitable date could not be found for the matter to be heard in District Court, that an application be made for it to be heard in Coffs Harbour or Lismore.



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