Man back-tracks on evidence after 000 recording played
SUNSHINE Coast charter boat skipper Mark Gartner has told a coronial inquest he did not hear a man who was pinned to the ground during a citizens' arrest pleading to be let up because he could not breathe.
But the skipper was forced to back-track from the evidence he had given earlier after being played a 000 call he made to emergency services at 5.37am on the day angler Amit Kumar, 34, died.
Mr Gartner was unaware the call had connected and was being recorded.
It was played to him for the first time on Wednesday in the Brisbane Magistrates Court while he was giving evidence into the circumstances surrounding Mr Kumar's death on September 23, 2012, at Mooloolaba.
"You are not going anywhere, pal," Mr Gartner could be heard saying in the recording.
"Oh my brother . . . I cannot breathe," Mr Kumar said.
"Not our problem, pal," Mr Gartner said.
"You f***ing piece of shit," Mr Gartner said.
However, Mr Gartner told the inquest earlier that at no stage during the incident did he think Mr Kumar could not breathe or was in any type of trouble, despite the fact he had been pinned face-first to the ground.
He told the court that his colleague Shaymus Dempster was cradling Mr Kumar's head so his face would not be exposed to the asphalt during the citizen's arrest.
Mr Gartner's new claim was in contrast to other witnesses who had given evidence at the inquest and Mr Dempster's own police statement, in which he said he had his knee on the side of Mr Kumar's head, pinning it to the ground.
Barrister Michael McMillian, representing the Kumar family, said a witness who would give evidence on Thursday would tell the inquest Mr Gartner told them "He is lying. He is lying. He is going to move. Do not let him up," in response to Mr Kumar saying he could not breathe.
Mr Gartner refuted the claim.
Deckhand Ethen Darez, who gave evidence at the inquest earlier on Wednesday, was played the 000 call and said he recognised Mr Gartner's voice in the recording.
Mr Kumar died during a citizens' arrest after he allegedly assaulted Offshore Reef and Game Fishing employee Jodie Cassar after she took his $190 then refused him access to the vessel.
Ms Cassar believed Mr Kumar was a person who had booked a fishing trip previously only to cancel at the last minute, leaving the charter business out of pocket.
The inquest before Coroner John Hutton continues.
- APN NEWSDESK.