Judge orders Kabra shooting trial rehearing
A MAN found guilty of not having a reasonable excuse for firing two shots in the air to scare off his sister and her two male friends has won his appeal of the magistrate's decision.
Tyler Ewing Skennar has been ordered to stand a retrial in Rockhampton Magistrates Court after Judge Michael Burnett found he could not make a decision whether or not to dismiss the charge from Acting Magistrate Mark Morrow's written decision including addressing the defendant's credibility and that there was evidence not allowed during the original trial in relation to the self-defence claim.
Skennar pleaded not guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on May 29 to unlawful possession of a firearm and dangerous conduct with a weapon likely to cause alarm and guilty to possession of ammunition.
The court heard during the original trial that Skennar and his then pregnant girlfriend, Caitlyn- Page Reid, had returned to his parents' Kabra property after lunch on October 2, 2016, and got into an argument with his sister Erin Skennar, where slapping was involved.
Skennar and Miss Reid were sitting at the back of the property outside a shed afterwards when a car pulled up and two associates of Miss Skennar's went into the house.
Five minutes later, the trio emerged from the house and approached the shed where another argument erupted which involved three men picking up bars at one point.
Skennar went to get his phone from inside the house to call police because Miss Skennar's associates were not leaving the property after being asked several times.
He told the court he saw Miss Skinner and Miss Reid involved in punch-up and that was when he "just snapped”, went inside and grabbed the gun.
The court heard Skennar let off two rounds into the air towards the paddock, not people, as a warning and minutes later Miss Skennar and the two men left in the car.
Defence lawyer Brian McGowran argued Miss Skennar's associates were trespassing and threatening violence and that his client, as the occupier, was in his right to defend himself and his pregnant partner by firing a warning shot.
Mr McGowran said during the appeal hearing that as a result of Mr Morrow's decision during the trial, no further decisions were made about self-defence.
Judge Burnett said: "What I'm troubled about is this - he hasn't addressed the defendant's credibility in a way which enables me, I think, to deal with the self defence argument.”
He said to be able to make a decision to dismiss the charge or not, he needed to know about Mr Morrow's findings about the reliability and credibility of the witnesses and why.
The Crown prosecution had conceded there was an error of law made by Mr Morrow in his decision.
Prosecutor Samantha O'Rourke said at the trial, there were three defences raised: self-defence, compulsion and defending another person.
"There was the initial error by the acting magistrate in the finding that Weapons Act and Criminal Code couldn't be read in conjunction or that the Criminal Code didn't apply to the Weapons Act. It clearly does,” Ms O'Rourke said.
"Ultimately he came to the conclusion that self defence isn't a reasonable excuse so it is incorrect reasoning in that regard.”
Judge Burnett ordered
a rehearing of Skennar's trial.