Braking point: Dale Skinner, accused of slashing the brake line of a Murwillumbah man’s 4WD.
Braking point: Dale Skinner, accused of slashing the brake line of a Murwillumbah man’s 4WD. Ros Irby

Brakes cut in Tweed family feud

A FEUD between two Tweed brothers could have turned deadly when Justin Bolton lost control of his 4WD on a steep hill in Murwillumbah after his Jackaroo's brake line was cut.

The ill-feeling between victim Justin and his estranged brother Jamie Bolton, 33, was revealed in Lismore Local Court this week when a mate of Jamie's, Dale Skinner, 53, of Wooyung, pleaded guilty to recklessly destroying property with intent to cause injury by cutting the brake line of the 4WD at 11.30 pm on January 10.

The prosecutor revealed Jamie Bolton would be giving evidence for the Crown against Skinner. He said Jamie Bolton was in the process of appealing a jail sentence he received for his role in the case (and on other matters including an assault on his brother in November 2009) after earlier pleading guilty in Tweed Heads Local Court to concealing a serious offence. That severity appeal is yet to be heard.

The DPP prosecutor said Bolton (Jamie) had received a 40 per cent discount on the sentence that he was now appealing.

Magistrate Robyn Denes said it was an unusual charge and set of circumstances and “clearly the consequences could have been very serious”.

Defence lawyer Laura Fennell said Skinner had little recollection of what took place but accepted the evidence of witnesses and there was no dispute of the potential harm that could have been done to the driver.

Ms Fennell said the matter was related to an ongoing, very nasty dispute between Jamie Bolton and his brother.

She said Skinner was “a friend of Jamie's” and they had lived at Greenhills Caravan Park in South Murwillumbah, owned by the brothers' parents Graeme and Janette Bolton.

Police facts state Skinner was with Jamie Bolton when it was suggested they go and let down a tyre of Justin Bolton's Jackaroo parked on a steep hill outside his home in Hartigan Street.

When Skinner returned to the car he smelt of brake fluid and he showed Jamie and another man a mini scalpel saying: “I've just snipped your brother's brake line”.

The next morning at 6am Justin Bolton began to drive his 4WD down the hill when he realised it had no brakes.

He quickly pulled on the handbrake and steered his Jackaroo into the kerb to stop it. A check revealed the brake hose was cut and leaking fluid.

The matter was adjourned to October 19.


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