Accused 'threatened witnesses': court
THE brother of a Tasmanian teenager, who killed Coffs Harbour man Simon Dingle in Deloraine last year, allegedly told witnesses to lie to police or he would kill them.
The 22-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, is standing trial in the Supreme Court in Launceston this week.
He is charged with two counts of perverting the course of justice.
Simon Dingle, 27, died after he was punched by the accused’s younger brother at the Deloraine Caravan Park in northern Tasmania in January last year.
The youth was only 17 when he fatally injured Mr Dingle with a single punch to the head in the early hours of January 16, 2010.
He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to serve three years jail last July.
Prosecuting lawyer, Greg Hoare, this week argued that his older brother was not present at the assault, but threatened several witnesses not to assist police.
An 18-year-old said the youth’s brother told him not to tell police what happened or he would kill him.
The accused has pleaded not guilty to that offence, but guilty to a second charge admitting he lied to police when interviewed.
He admitted he told officers he had not seen his younger brother and his friends in central Deloraine shortly before the attack on Mr Dingle.
He denied instructing the witnesses to tell police they found Mr Dingle unconscious on the roadside, or threatening to kill them if they did otherwise.
The youths were intoxicated, when they followed Mr Dingle back to his accommodation at a caravan park outside Deloraine after meeting him for the first time on the street in the early hours of the morning.
But during the walk, one of the teenagers suggested they "mug" the visiting fruit-picker.
The youth then ran up and punched him from behind, knocking him to the ground.
Two of the youth’s friends - called as the Crown’s first two witnesses - then robbed the dying man of his wallet.
The attacker ran off and returned 15 minutes later with his brother.
Paramedics were by then on scene trying to revive Mr Dingle.
Crown prosecutor Greg Hoare says the older brother gathered the youth’s friends and told them to leave.
The first witness has told jurors the accused also threatened them with violence.
"He told us to say we’d found Simon like that - and if we didn’t he’d kill us," he said.
The Supreme Court trial continues.