David and Lachlan Pirie arriving at the District Court in Brisbane this morning. Picture: Darren England/AAP
David and Lachlan Pirie arriving at the District Court in Brisbane this morning. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Magistrate’s husband ‘thought he was above law’

THE husband of a Toowoomba Magistrate is on trial for attacking a female neighbour with a large shovel handle and punching her in the face, after a verbal slanging match.

Lawyer David Pirie, the husband of Magistrate Catherine Pirie, and their son, Lachlan, are co-charged with assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and in company.

Lachlan Pirie, then 18, is also charged with common assault, for allegedly throwing rocks at Tallai neighbour Jennifer Toohey, with at least one rock hitting her in the head.

Brisbane District Court was told David Pirie, then 56, admits he hit Mrs Toohey with a "snake stick" once and struck her once, but said it was in self defence.


Crown prosecutor Christopher Cook said David Pirie was " a man who thought he was above the law attacking a female who was five foot one"

Mrs Toohey, a grandmother, lived with 12 other family members at 24 Glenrowan Dr, Tallai, while David and Catherine Pirie lived next door with sons Lachlan and Jordan.

The Crown case is that the assaults occurred on February 14, last year, after Mrs Toohey and daughter Reshinda arrived home from shopping.

Jennifer Toohey told the court she heard David Pirie yelling about their loud music and then saying Reshinda was "nothing but a fat bitch".

Mrs Toohey told the court David and Lachlan Pirie then came running down towards them, with David swearing, calling them fat people, dole bludgers, welfare cheats and druggos.

Mrs Toohey said when she said to David Pirie she did not know where he got his information from, he replied: "Don't you know who my wife is?"

Mrs Toohey said she replied: "Yes, some desperate bitch who wants to be with you."

She said Lachlan Pirie threatened to kill her grandchild, when her daughter-in-law walked outside with her baby.

She said later, when she was in her driveway, she was struck by rocks thrown by Lachlan Pirie.

Mrs Toohey said David Pirie came running down onto her driveway with a shovel handle.

"I thought I was dead. He was going to hit me with the shovel in the head," Mrs Toohey said.

She said she told David Pirie not to do it, but she was struck twice in the stomach with the shovel handle.

"I went into shock," Mrs Toohey said.

She said David Pirie then had her in a headlock and punched her a few times on the right side of her head.

Mrs Toohey told of previous incidents of abuse and threats by David Pirie, whom she said let everyone know his wife was a magistrate.

She said a few years ago, David Pirie had threatened her with the same shovel handle he had used to assault her on February 14.

The court heard when police later interviewed David Pirie he said: "You know my wife's a magistrate?"

He told police Jennifer Toohey was "a large aggressive lady" who had charged onto his property and he had used the snake stick in his hands and punched her, in self defence.

David Pirie's defence counsel, Tony Kimmins, opened the defence case with a reference to Hollywood movies.

"In 2014, Hollywood released a movie, Bad Neighbours. In 2016 they released Bad Neighbours Two," Mr Kimmins said.

"In 2014, the Pirie family got a taste of bad neighbours themselves, they being the Pirie family who had moved into premises next door to them."

He said before the incidents on February 14 last year, there had been a history of violent arguments between David Pirie and other members of the Toohey family.

Mr Kimmins said David Pirie had been called a f---ing pedophile, a f---ing pervert and other names and he had made comments back.

Lachlan Pirie has been charged with the bodily harm offence on the basis that he aided or assisted his father.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. The trial is continuing.

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