Shop owner alleges standover tactics
FIVE men allegedly connected to the Rebels Motorcycle Club fronted court yesterday co-accused of threatening the owners of a rival body piercing business.
Adam Warwick McCrea, Gary Wayne Hyland, Mark Darran Berghofer, Sean Edwin Foster and Peter Ross Hill are accused of making threats to Maryborough couple Khris and Emma Bust.
Four defence barristers and three instructing solicitors lined the tables to the left of the courtroom as day one of the trial began.
Crown Prosecutor Clare Kelly told the court the five men had fronted the Busts as they were fitting out their shop Empire Body Piercing in Kent Street, Maryborough, and warned them not to open the store.
She said the couple were told by members of the group that the new store would take money and clients away from a Hervey Bay business they had ties with, Fraser Coast Tattoo and Body Piercing.
She also said the couple claimed that during the visit, McCrea had stood over Mr Bust in a threatening manner and told him that if the store opened as planned, he would throw him and his wife through the front window.
She told the jury that when police searched the homes of some of the men involved they found merchandise and clothing related to the Rebels Motorcycle Club.
The bulk of the day was taken up by the cross examination of Mr Bust.
The court heard he and Emma moved to Maryborough from Toowoomba, where he had previously worked as a body piercer.
He told the court that in the months preceding the store's opening he received a call from a man who identified himself as “Big Adam”.
He said “Big Adam” had told him to “stay off his turf”.
Soon after receiving the call Mr Bust contacted McCrea and eventually arranged to meet with him at Empire, and it was that meeting the accusations stem from.
But defence barrister Rick Taylor argued that Mr Bust could not prove that the man who called himself “Big Adam” was in fact Adam McCrea.
He said that by Mr Bust's own admission, McCrea had seemed “surprised” when he received a call from Mr Bust to arrange a meeting.
He argued that the only reason McCrea and his friends had been interested in meeting with him was because they were concerned the new business might bring “rival motorcycle groups” to the area and wanted to be sure Mr Bust wasn't affiliated with any such groups.
He also questioned the legitimacy of Mr Bust's claims that McCrea had threatened to throw him and Emma through the front window.
When asked why it wasn't until he made his second statement, months after the alleged offence, that he told police McCrea had made the threat, Mr Bust said “because I was scared”.
The trial continues today.