Blind man's accused attacker says he's the victim
A BUMP involving a shopping trolley on a Bundaberg street may have been the catalyst for a violent incident that left 63-year-old visually impaired man Graeme Raines injured, a court has been told.
But his accused attacker, Gary Lutz, also aged 63, said he was innocent and would strongly defend the charges of stealing on November 17 - and the serious assault of a person (Mr Raines) who relies on a guide dog/wheelchair or other remedial device.
The incident took place on Woongarra St around 9.30am.
Appearing in custody before Bundaberg Magistrates Court, Lutz, through duty lawyer Craig Ryan, made a bail application that was opposed by police prosecutor Andrew Blunt.
Mr Ryan said Lutz would "vigorously defend the charges" and maintains that he had been the victim of the assault.
"He (Lutz) says he is visually impaired and says the complainant did a theft on him, a cigarette lighter was dislodged," Mr Ryan said.
"He says any assault by him was done in defending himself.
"He didn't see anything on the dog that indicated it was a vision assistance dog."
Mr Ryan said Lutz said there had been an incident with a trolley and the other person came at him and he defended himself.
However, magistrate Belinda Merrin was told in police evidence that independent witnesses state the dog "clearly had some sort of coat on".
"He vehemently denies it. He (Lutz) just denies it, the way it is described," Mr Ryan said.
"It will be defended vigorously."
The issue was raised on whether a mental assessment could be done for Lutz, Mr Ryan saying that there may be some issues as his behaviour had been out of character.
Mr Ryan said Lutz was seriously assaulted in November last year and had raised the concern justice was not done to him.
With regard to his bail application, Ms Merrin said her concern was for community safety as a result of the allegation against Lutz. And that the incident, where two vision impaired people ran into each other, seemed to have escalated very quickly from being a minor bumping.
Ms Merrin said she was concerned the court has no medical, mental health report on Lutz to consider in his bail application, and she would not release him without a report.
Lutz interjected, saying he had seen a psychiatrist who may be able to supply a report - "I want to go home today", he said.
Lutz agreed to remain in custody and adjourn his bail application part-heard until, an official report was done.
His matter will return to court in December.