Topics:  alleged armed robbery, hervey bay magistrates court

Banana bail

AN ACCUSED armed robber has been released on bail on the grounds police found him holding a banana, not a pistol.

Shane Halliday, 38, allegedly robbed the EB Games store in Hervey Bay on July 19, threatening a female staff member before taking off with cash.

He was arrested by members of the police dog squad on Hillyard St, not far from the Pialba Place shopping centre, shortly after the crime was committed.

But Halliday planned to fight the charges, said his lawyer John Milburn, and the banana was just one reason why the prosecution had slipped up in its case.

Mr Milburn said the staff member who was threatened and a second witness from the shopping centre had each provided "substantially different" descriptions of the offender. Both also failed to pick Halliday out on a photo board shown to them by police.

Furthermore, police had not found the stolen cash or a weapon of any kind, he said.

"There was no weapon," he told the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court.

"There was a banana.

"Whether they are alleging that is the weapon, I am not aware at this stage."

Mr Milburn said Halliday was heavily intoxicated when he was arrested and therefore any admissions he made may have stemmed from his "desire to go to sleep".

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell said he was inclined to agree with Mr Milburn, despite the fact Halliday was arrested wearing similar clothes to those shown in CCTV footage of the offender.

"Did anyone see this alleged weapon?" Mr Tatnell asked police prosecutor Senior Constable Tanya Griffiths.

She said the 20-year-old victim was insistent she had seen "an older-style gun".

"A person who robs people at gunpoint doesn't deserve to be in the community," Mr Tatnell said.

But he went on to give Halliday bail with strict conditions, including that he stay away from EB Games and not have any alcohol or drugs.

He must reside with his mother at Pialba and will not be allowed to leave the house between 8pm and 7am.

Halliday will reappear in court on October 17.



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