ON TRIAL: Kenneth Robert Douglas on his way in to Gladstone District Court yesterday.
ON TRIAL: Kenneth Robert Douglas on his way in to Gladstone District Court yesterday. Mike Richards GLA070618CORT

'One between your eyes': Woman swears man aimed rifle at her

A YOUNG woman has testified she saw a Gladstone man aiming a rifle at her after hearing a warning shot pass her by during a terrifying ordeal on a Diglum property in 2016.

She said the man then told her "You better get back behind that fence or else you'll get one of these between your eyes".

The trial of Kenneth Robert Douglas began today in Gladstone District Court for the second time this week, after it was called off on Wednesday due to a juror being discharged.

Douglas again pleaded not guilty to wilful damage and dangerous conduct with a weapon (using a firearm to cause alarm).

The incident in question took place on the night of August 12, 2016, at a farmhouse 70km southwest of Gladstone.

The night ended with the burning down of the house, to which Douglas's son Jesse Douglas earlier pleaded guilty to arson.

The house's owner, Ian Loader, was not present at the time of the incident, though his daughter Amanda Loader and her partner were asleep in a caravan near the house when the ordeal began.

In his opening statement, nearly identical to the one delivered on Wednesday, Crown Prosecutor Matt Le Grand told the jury Douglas had earlier pleaded guilty to charges that placed him at the property, and the issue in this trial was whether Douglas had fired two particular gunshots.

The first shot at issue was allegedly fired by Douglas soon after he and his sons arrived at the property, angry over what they said were lost wages owed to Jesse from a time he had worked at the property and a missing fridge.

The shot allegedly damaged the caravan in which Ms Loader and Mr Moore had slept.

The jury was shown photos of the caravan's shattered window and a curtain with what police said was a bullet hole, as well as spent rounds discovered on the property the next day by scenes of crime officer Sergeant Joshua White.

The second shot was allegedly fired by Douglas in front of Ms Loader as a warning shot, as she walked across the yard in front of the house.


Gladstone Court House.
Gladstone Court House. Matt Taylor

Cross-examining Sgt White, defence barrister Scott Moon questioned the sergeant on the lack of forensic evidence linking the defendant to two rifles, the spent rounds, or other areas on the property.

Sgt White admitted no forensic evidence linked Kenneth Douglas to the scene.

But under follow-up questioning from Mr Le Grand, Sgt White testified no trace DNA or fingerprints from anyone at all had been found on those objects, and it was possible for people to touch objects without leaving such evidence for many reasons.

Amanda Loader also testified late yesterday, telling the jury she and her partner had been in Gladstone earlier the day of the incident when they were confronted at a post office by Douglas and his sons over the wages.

She said Douglas and his sons were looking to speak to her brother Mitchell over the dispute.

"It felt like he was really pumped up... he was ready to make something happen," she said.

Asked about the events that took place later that night, she also testified she had heard a voice yell "That'll get you out of there" after the caravan window had broken.

The most dramatic moment of yesterday's testimony came late in the day, she told the court that when she and her partner exited the caravan, they were confronted at the farmhouse's fenceline by Douglas's son Matthew.

In the farmhouse, she said she could see Kenneth and Jesse Douglas, each holding rifles that she recognised as belonging to one of her brothers.

She said she told Matthew she would take him to a hill near the property from which they could get reception to call her brother Mitchell.

But as she walked across the property to lead Matthew and her partner towards her car, she said she heard a gunshot.

She said she looked up at the farmhouse and saw Douglas aiming the rifle at her, looking down the barrel.

"He said 'You better get back behind that fence or else you'll get one of these between your eyes'," she testified.

The trial will resume today.

Click here to read The Observer's coverage of the following day of the trial.

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