MP rebuked over riot

YAMBA riot trial defence solicitor Mark Spagnolo has lashed out at criticism by Clarence MP Steve Cansdell of the result and legal processes involved in the case.

The Maclean-based solicitor, who advised barristers representing acquitted adults Craig and Dylan McNeill and three acquitted juveniles charged over their part in the incident, said Mr Cansdell's comments were ill-informed and relied on hearsay.

“Mr Cansdell's comments are another example of his lack of understanding of the judicial system,” he said.

“Mr Cansdell should concentrate on getting more police for the Valley rather than trying to score political gain by relying on the hearsay of another, to have a go at those who were found not guilty by a court of law after a six-week trial that he did not attend.”

Mr Spagnolo said comments made by Mr Cansdell in the story about the youths' riot charges dropped (DEX, May 17), that he was told the magistrate said the accused dodged a bullet, were completely false.

“The statement made by Mr Cansdell was not said by the

magistrate at any time,” he said

“Mr Cansdell should check the facts before making inflammatory comments as they do not assist the community.”

Mr Spagnolo said he was happy to pass on any advice about the trial that may assist Mr Cansdell in his new role as Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services.

“It is time for Mr Cansdell to understand that the legal system is impartial and separate from the government for very good reasons,” he said.

“The court found my adult clients not guilty as the evidence simply was not there. The police withdrew the charges against my juvenile clients as the evidence simply was not there.”

Mr Spagnolo suggested Mr Cansdell should speak to Police Minister Andrew Scipione about the inquiry into the failed prosecution, and report to the community as to its progress and/or findings.

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