Knife attack trial deferred
A WOMAN sat in court sobbing while her evidence was cross-examined by a man accused of violently robbing her.
The middle-aged woman broke down during her evidence at Hervey Bay Magistrates Court as she spoke of an alleged attack by two men who “grabbed” her and threatened her with a knife before stealing cash from her purse.
Rodney “Rocket” Thomas Hills, 41, has been charged with robbery with violence and also extortion over phone calls to the woman where he allegedly demanded money from her.
Peter Lawrence Brennan, 41, is also charged with robbery with violence over the alleged incident, which the woman says took place outside the Neighbourhood Centre at Pialba.
The two men appeared in court from custody during this week’s committal proceedings.
Brennan is alleged to have accompanied Hills on the day in question and “jumped out of the car” to grab the woman by the arm while Hills held her throat.
The court also heard Hills had threatened the woman and her partner and as a result she feared for her safety and that of her children, she told the court.
Brennan appeared without legal representation, which meant he cross-examined the woman after she gave evidence.
Prosecutor, Senior Constable Jeanette Grigoris, objected to Brennan being brought out from the docks to sit at the bar table but his handcuffs were removed and he was given the relevant witness statements.
When the woman broke down in tears, she asked to leave the courtroom for a break.
She said she felt the two defendants were trying to intimidate her and asked if she could give evidence from behind a protective screen.
Magistrate Graeme Tatnell denied her request.
The court heard that the woman met with Hills on several occasions from January to March of this year to pay off a debt owed to him by her partner.
But a number of inconsistencies in her evidence led defence solicitor for Hills, Michal Riedel, to ask the woman if she was “making the whole thing up”.
He noted that she’d provided three different answers when asked if she had seen any knife.
The woman also told police $190 was stolen from her purse but told the court it was $50.
The matter was adjourned to February 8, when other witnesses, including the woman’s partner, will give evidence. Hills was granted strict conditional bail.