THE ACCUSED gunman in the region's most high profile shooting has been allowed bail despite strong objections from police.
Kane Smith, 20, is charged over a fight which left Robert Fletcher with a bullet wound to the stomach in Pialba last month.
Police allege he fired the shot that brought conflict within the local drug trade into public view, but with no complaint from Fletcher, Smith can only be prosecuted for weapons offences and yesterday, Hervey Bay Magistrate Graeme Tatnell found that wasn't enough to keep him behind bars.
Smith was arrested on Thursday following a search of a home at Alice St, Pialba on Thursday.
Hervey Bay CIB Detective Sergeant Mick Polit said as Fletcher was not co-operating with police, Smith could not be charged with attempted murder or grievous bodily harm and was instead charged with dangerous conduct with a weapon and discharging a firearm in public.
The Hervey Bay Magistrates Court heard there was evidence of "holes in curtains" and other items at the crime scene which supported witness statements that a "projectile" had passed through them after allegedly being fired from a gun Smith had owned for about a week before the Fletcher shooting.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Jeanette Grigoris said as the gun had not been found, Smith still allegedly had access to it, "placing members of the public at risk".
Defence lawyer Michael Riedel argued that two of the prosecution's key witnesses- accused burglar Dean Nichols and the recently arrested Jason Bowley- were not credible and had given conflicting statements.
He also said there was a "history of animosity" between Nichols- the former partner of Smith's mother" - and rejected that Bowley, who the court heard had originally told police he had been the shooter, had been "offered money to take the rap for the shooting".
When he suggested that it would seem "a little bit strange" for someone with Smith's limited history to go from minor offending to "shooting someone", Hervey Bay Magistrate Graeme Tatnell said "anything happens in the drug world Mr Riedel...so they tell me".
But Mr Tatnell went on to say "it has to be remembered that whilst this incident has received an enormous amount of publicity...no complaint has ever been made by Fletcher" and he was "not sure the evidence is strong at all".
He allowed bail on the condition Smith live at his girlfriend's Point Vernon address and submit to random drug testing.