Woman kicked out of courtroom
A TRIAL worthy of television played out in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday with a member of the public escorted from the court, a witness deemed unreliable and a previously indicated plea changed at the last minute.
John Adam Daly pleaded not guilty to one charge of possessing a weapon.
However, Daly’s defence had informed the prosecution he would be taking another course with his plea causing them to cancel their three witnesses prior to the trial.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told the court he was informed of the change six minutes before the trial began and an adjournment was made to gather more witnesses.
Bundaberg Police Sergeant Leisa Norton took the stand and told the court that on March 11 she was conducting random breath tests on Mt Perry Road, North Bundaberg, when she pulled over a silver Daewoo about 4pm.
A woman, Tina Ann Giles, was driving, Daly was in the front passenger seat and Shantel Leah Beaumont was in the back seat.
When Giles opened her handbag to get her driver’s licence, Sgt Norton spotted a used syringe inside and indicated the car to be moved so a full search of the vehicle could be conducted.
She indicated to Senior Constable Ricky Lynch, who was also performing random breath tests, for assistance.
Snr Const. Lynch conducted a pat down search of Daly and located a knife down the front of his pants.
When the officers arrested Daly, Beaumont, who was still in the back of the car, began yelling: “It’s mine. I gave it to him so I wouldn’t get in trouble.”
Snr Const. Lynch and Sgt Norton both identified the black-handled, silver-bladed knife during cross examination in the court.
It was concluded that a sliding mechanism was used to expose the blade.
When Beaumont was cross examined, she told the court she had placed the blade on Daly without his knowledge.
She claimed she had owned the knife for about two years and she kept it on her nightstand.
However, when Sgt Stevens asked her to describe the blade, she told the court it was a silver knife which flicked open when a button was pushed.
During Beaumont’s failed attempt to identify the blade, a woman in the public gallery was escorted from the room for trying to signal to the witness.
Sgt Stevens asked the court to hold Beaumont’s evidence “with the contempt it deserves; it’s laughable, it’s contemptuous”.
Defence lawyer Leanne Pearson told the court her client was not aware the witness Beaumont had slipped the blade into his pants.
“Frankly, to think that a person could receive that without knowing is ridiculous,” Sgt Stevens said. “Mr Daly knew it was there because he told the officers he was holding it for Beaumont.”
Magistrate John Smith told the court Beaumont was “not accepted as an honest and reliable witness”.
He sentenced Daly to three months’ jail after taking into account facts including his extensive history, the fact he was on parole at the time of the offence, his plea and a heart-felt letter from the defendant’s mother, a copy of which the magistrate said he would send to Daly.
“You can feel the sadness and disappointment in your mum’s letter,” Mr Smith told Daly. “Surely it should give you some inspiration to get your life back on track.”