One of our most notorious killers has been found not guilty of bashing a prison guard during a wild clash at the Townsville Correctional Centre.
One of our most notorious killers has been found not guilty of bashing a prison guard during a wild clash at the Townsville Correctional Centre.

Patea found not guilty of bashing prison guard

ONE of Queensland's most notorious killers has been found not guilty of bashing a prison guard during a wild clash at the Townsville Correctional Centre.

Lionel John Patea, serving two life sentences for the unrelated Gold Coast murders of his former partner Tara Brown and local pool builder Greg Dufty, was accused of assaulting a prison guard on the day he was transferred to Townsville's maximum security jail in January 2019.

After Patea was found not guilty of the assault, his high-profile defence lawyer Campbell MacCallum accused the prison guards of fabricating the charges to cover up an assault of their own.

During February's trial at Townsville Magistrates Court, Patea told the court he "pleaded guilty to two murders because I did it (but) I didn't do this".

Lionel John Patea was accused of assaulting a prison guard on the day he was transferred to Townsville’s maximum security jail in January 2019. Picture: Facebook
Lionel John Patea was accused of assaulting a prison guard on the day he was transferred to Townsville’s maximum security jail in January 2019. Picture: Facebook

He was vindicated with Magistrate Cathy Wadley finding him not guilty of assault.

She also ordered the Queensland Police Service to pay costs.

After the verdict, Mr MacCallum said the case against his client should never have gone as far as it did.

"My view is that this matter only proceeded to trial due to my client's surname and other offences he has been previously convicted of," he said.

"Lionel was in a defenceless situation in a small cell when he was attacked by five fully-armoured prison guards who caused him injury and then tried to cover it up by charging him with an offence.

"On this occasion, Lionel gave evidence and the government officers gave evidence and the evidence of Lionel was believed."

The court was told Patea had spent six months in solitary confinement before his transfer and he admitted he "wasn't in the best headspace, but I tell you right now I didn't assault someone".

CCTV of the wild clash between Patea and a squad of guards was played to the court but the footage proved inconclusive in determining exactly how a corrections officer had been injured.

Patea, 28, is one of Queensland's most notorious criminals.

In September 2015, he ran his former partner Tara Brown off the road and bashed her to death after she had dropped the couple's young daughter to daycare.

He later also admitted to being involved in the killing of Gold Coast father Greg Dufty, who disappeared in July of the same year.

Patea pleaded guilty to Mr Dufty's murder, while a number of other people were also jailed over the heinous crime, including Patea's younger brother Nelson, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter.



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