THE prosecution’s chances of getting convictions over the 2010 Valentine’s Day Yamba riot were bolstered yesterday after an 18-year-old woman gave evidence she saw petrol drums near the front of a police vehicle, bricks and pavers being thrown at the vehicle and it being set alight.
The woman, whose boyfriend was charged for his involvement in the incident at a party at the McNeill family’s Yamba residence, was the third of four witnesses to give evidence at Maclean Court yesterday.
After applying for leave to allow the woman to refresh her memory by reading her statement, prosecutor Bob Hanzic applied for, and was granted, permission by Magistrate John Andrews to cross examine the woman.
Under cross examination by Mr Hanzic, the woman said she saw poles, bricks and pavers being thrown at the police vehicle, people jumping on the bonnet and rocking the vehicle, attempting to tip it over.
She said she saw a bucket placed close to the front of the police vehicle and heard Craig McNeill yell “let the games begin”.
“He said we are playing a game to see who can get the bricks closest to the bucket,” she said.
“Then he threw a brick at the windscreen.”
The woman said she noticed petrol drums at the front of the police paddy wagon, but did not see who put them there.
After the vehicle was pelted with pavers, bottles and bricks, which smashed several windows, she said she saw a boy at the front of the police vehicle use a lighter to set it alight.
When the vehicle was alight the woman said people began throwing branches on it to keep it alight.
Under cross examination by Craig McNeill’s defence barrister, Peter O’Connor, the woman was asked if she wanted to please Senior Constable Lindy Roberts who took her statement.
“Not really, I just told her the truth,” she said.