Xavier Rudd, centre, fronting Byron Bay Local Court this morning.
Xavier Rudd, centre, fronting Byron Bay Local Court this morning. The Northern Star Archives

'Dog rage' incident sparked Xavier Rudd’s alleged assault

UPDATE 1.30pm: AN ARGUMENT over the "aggressive" behaviour of one of Xavier Rudd's dogs on a Byron Shire beach sparked the incident which resulted in the musician being charged with assault, Byron Bay Local Court has heard.

The man who claims to have been assaulted by Rudd was the first person to give evidence at Rudd's hearing this morning before Magistrate Michael Dakin.

Ocean Shores resident James Liston, 63 told the court he was walking his German Shepherd on New Brighton beach on the morning of November 9 last year with his wife Jennifer.

Liston said he approached a group of people on the beach, one of whom was a woman he knew was "berating" Rudd over the aggressive behaviour of his cattle dogs.

The woman told Rudd "her dog was afraid to go down to the beach and used to run away whenever it saw (Rudd's) dogs at the beach," Liston told the court.

Liston said Rudd's dog then had a "snap" and "went to attack our dog Shadow".

Angered, he then said to Rudd: "Your dog just f**king attacked our dog, (and) you and your dog I would like to get off the beach now".

Liston told the court Rudd then "lunged forward with what I remember was his left open hand… and struck me in the chest here," he said, pointing to the right side of his chest.

"He (then) said 'don't tell me to f**k off'," Liston said.

Liston told the court he was pushed back from the impact "two or three metres" and began to hyperventilate, resorting to lying on the sand on his side to lower his heart rate.

"I was concerned about my heart… because of my age," he said.

After he recovered, Liston told the court he said to Rudd: "You're weak as piss, you just bashed a 60-year-old man, and I again told him to f**k off".

Several other witnesses were on the beach, some who will be called to give evidence later today. Several of them were acquainted with Mr Liston, including his wife.

Liston said some time later Rudd approached him and he told him: "I'm going to the doctor and I'm going to the police to report you'."

He then allegedly told Rudd: "I'll own your fucking house".

A different picture of the incident was suggested to the court by Rudd's barrister Sophie Anderson when she cross-examined Liston.

Ms Anderson put it to Liston that when he approached Rudd and told him to f**k off that was came "within 20cm" off him. "You were aggressive, weren't you Mr Liston," she said.

Liston replied: "I did that because my dog had just been attacked".

Ms Anderson then suggested Rudd's dog never "attacked" Liston's dog.

"There was no dog fight was there," she said.

"Mr Rudd's dog never set upon your dog."

Liston replied that Rudd's dog was "baring its teeth" and snapping at his dog.

Ms Anderson also suggested that Liston had decided to actively "involve" himself in the first encounter between the woman and Rudd.

"I'd suggest to you at that time you were very red in the face, you were angry," Ms Anderson said.

Later she put it to Liston that he was so angry that spit was coming out of his mouth.

Liston agreed that he was "very close" to Rudd's face and was pointing at him "because my dog had just been attacked".

Ms Anderson also focused on Liston's comment that would "own" Rudd's house because he knew Rudd's celebrity identity and she put it to Liston that the property had "value to you".

But Liston replied that he had "no interest in any financial benefit" from the proceedings.

The court heard that Liston went to an Ocean Shores medical clinic after the incident and was attended by two nurses.

Ms Anderson suggested to Liston that he had "tried to exaggerate the nature of the injury" to medical staff by claiming he was punched rather than pushed.

"I'd suggest to you that the version you've given here today is not true and when you said to Mr Rudd you would take his f**king house, you meant that," she said.

The hearing continues.


FRIDAY 9.50am: ROOTS musician and Byron Shire local Xavier Rudd has fronted Byron Bay Local Court this morning to face a court hearing over an assault charge.

The 38-year-old was charged with one count of common assault over an incident which allegedly occurred on the morning of November 9 last year in New Brighton.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge at an earlier court appearance.

The New Brighton resident was accompanied by supporters as he walked in to the courthouse about 9am.

Rudd was wearing black pants, black jacket, and black sneakers. 

More information to come.

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