Judge retires over trespass claim

AFTER considering the prosecution's submission concerning whether police were trespassing on the McNeill family's property on the night of the 2010 Valentines Day Yamba riot, Magistrate John Andrews yesterday retired to his chambers to consider the submission from the defence.

In a lengthy verbal submission, Peter O'Connor, barrister for Craig McNeill, argued the property was owned by Maxine McNeill and leased to a company owned by both McNeills, Snow Sports.

Prosecutor Bob Hanzic conceded this in his submission, but argued that this gave only the director of the company at the time, Craig McNeill, the right to invoke any rights in relation to trespassers.

In reply to Mr O'Connor's submission, Mr Hanzic stressed Mr McNeill said he was acting under the direction of the property's owner, Mrs McNeill, when he told police to leave the property.

In the prosecution's submission it was argued that the “common driveway” where the incident occurred was public property as it was used by tenants including West Yamba Automotive and SNP security to access their premises.

Mr O'Connor argued that this was not the case as their leases were only for the buildings and the driveway remained the property of the lessee, Snow Sports.

Citing several trespass cases as precedents, Mr O'Connor argued police trespassed on the McNeill's property after being asked to leave.

This was conceded by the prosecution, who repeated Mr McNeill was the only person who had the right to ask police to leave.



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