Alleged killer bailed

A MAN who died after allegedly being punched by a neighbour was standing up for a group of young women, a court was told.

Bundaberg Magistrates Court was told accused killer Stephen Ross Rogers, 50, of Thabeban, had become abusive to a number of young women in his house about 8.50pm on January 14.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said an argument began and the victim heard the disturbance from his house across the road.

Sgt Stevens said the victim told Rogers: “Lay off, Steve, stop hitting women. I hear you hitting Jo at night.”

The defendant allegedly asked his neighbour, “Do you want to go?”, before “forcefully punching” the man, causing him to fall and hit his head “with great force” on the road.

“Witnesses called Triple 0 and police ascertained the victim had not provoked the defendant,” Sgt Stevens said.

“The defendant admitted he had punched the victim and was arrested, but declined to be formally interviewed.”

The victim was taken to Bundaberg Hospital and died two days later.

Rogers was initially charged with causing grievous bodily harm, but the charges were later upgraded to manslaughter.

Rogers yesterday appeared in court to apply for bail, which Sgt Stevens opposed because of the seriousness of the charge.

“The defendant does have a history of serious violence, but they are quite historic,” Sgt Stevens said.

The prosecutor said Rogers, a tattoo artist, was also linked to the Rebels Motorcycle Club.

Defence barrister David Murray said the justice system was not at a point where someone could be denied bail for being associated with a motorcycle club.

“It is a tragedy indeed and my client is stricken by grief,” he said.

“This man has been a friend of my client for several years.”

Mr Murray said Rogers was married with a 10-year-old child.

“He is well regarded in his industry and well known in the community,” the barrister said.

“This is not a case of gangs who engage in fortuitous street violence.

“It seems alcohol may be involved in this matter on both sides, regrettably.”

Magistrate Jennifer Batts granted Rogers bail on the conditions he stay with a family member at Kensington, not enter his own street, not drink in public or enter a public place while under the influence, and have no contact with non-familial witnesses or with the victim's family.

The matter was set down for committal mention on April 4.

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