Not guilty of campground stabbing
GUBOO Fraser could have spent today behind bars but instead he will be celebrating his freedom.
It took a jury just one hour to find the 25-year-old not guilty of stabbing Sean Keidge at a Tinnanbar camping ground in 2008.
It was alleged Mr Keidge, 43, suffered a wound to the stomach during an altercation with Mr Fraser on December 31 – just two days after he threatened to cut the younger man’s throat over the fate of a turtle.
Mr Fraser pleaded not guilty in the Hervey Bay District Court to grievous bodily harm. A number of witnesses this week gave evidence, including fellow campers and a police officer.
Mr Fraser yesterday opted not to take the stand or call any witnesses.
A third man caught the green sea turtle while fishing at Kauri Creek, near the Log Dump camping grounds, on December 29, the court heard.
When it became apparent that Mr Fraser, an indigenous Australian, intended to kill the creature, Mr Keidge intervened.
“If you touch the turtle again I’m going to cut your f***ing throat,” Mr Keidge said.
Mr Fraser admitted he was going to kill the turtle, a traditional practice of indigenous people , but had released it following the threat.
A large group of people were staying at the camping grounds over that time, most of them unknown to Mr Keidge.
Witnesses described Mr Keidge’s behaviour during the camping trip as “loud, drunk and abusive”.
They said the Rosewood resident threatened a number of people with an axe, made lewd comments to teenage girls and on one occasion grabbed a woman so hard he left her bruised.
Mr Fraser was staying there with family members, who said they too were abused by Mr Keidge.
The defence yesterday asked the jury to consider the lack of forensic evidence linking Mr Fraser to the alleged crime.
Defence barrister Paul Brown did, however, concede that Mr Keidge’s injuries could be classed as grievous bodily harm.
He had a laceration three centimetres long to his upper central abdomen area, Mr Brown said.
The injury, consistent with a knife wound, went through his abdominal wall, piercing his liver and severing an artery.
Mr Keidge underwent two bouts of surgery to reconstruct the artery and part of his liver had to be removed.