Top 10 crime stories in Rockhampton court in 2018
It's been a busy year at the Rockhampton court house with high- profile cases prosecuted.
1. Armstrong and Hong accused of double murder
ROBERT Martinez, 26, and his friend Chantal Barnett, 27, were last seen alive in Rockhampton on March 2, 2013.
After an extensive investigation by police, their case was upgraded from being missing people to homicide.
In February 2016, Ian Robert Armstrong and Daniel George Hong were charged with two counts each of murder and two of interfering with a corpse.
Robert and Chantal's families waited 2025 days for answers as to what happened to them when Ian Robert Armstrong and Daniel George Hong stood trial over their deaths.
However, those answers never came.
Read more: Tell us what happened to Chantal
After two juries (one dismissed after a day after a possible conflict arose), and five days of the trial, the two accused men walked free.
They pleaded guilty to two counts of each of interfering with a corpse, with the murder charges dropped.
They were sentenced to two years or less in prison, with all time served, over the deaths of the two young Rockhampton drug associates.
Outside court, Chantal's father Glen said the family felt the court had let them down in terms of finding out what happened to his daughter. Despite Justice Graeme Crow's plea to the convicted men to reveal information to help find Chantal's remains, he did not hold out hope.
The trial revealed Paul Moore was the last man to talk to the pair by mobile phone on March 2.
Mr Moore admitted taking Mr Martinez's jewellery from a car abandoned on Bowlin Rd, Depot Hill, on March 17.
Read more here: Paul Moore takes the stand in double homicide accused trial
2. The man who shot and killed a Fitzroy River crocodile
THE man who killed a crocodile in the Fitzroy River, believed to have been born World War I and to have survived extensive hunting over the years, has received a hefty fine.
Luke Stephen Orchard, 31, pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court to one count of unlawfully taking a protected animal.
Police prosecutor Jess King said the Belmont Research Station farmhand made admissions to police about the shooting of the 5.26 metre male crocodile on the banks of the Fitzroy River on September 13, 2017.
"It was taking calves and I was getting sick of it, so I got rid of it,” Orchard told police during his interview.
Magistrate Jeff Clarke ordered Orchard to pay a $10,000 fine.
Read full story here: REVEALED: Why I killed Rocky's giant crocodile
3. Rocky's iconic clydesdales targeted by prankster
SHOCKING footage shows the moment a 20-year-old man let off a fire extinguisher in the faces of two iconic Rockhampton horses early in January.
Kenny and Bailey the clydesdales were the target of an attack on a Friday night where a white sedan pulled up close to the horses and someone inside fired the extinguisher, sending white power in the horses faces and through the air.
Watch video here: Shocking footage of attack on Rocky's beloved horses
Giobi Sydney Geiger pleaded guilty in Rockhampton Magistrates Court in July to two charges of animal cruelty, one of assault, and one of wilful damage in relation to the incident.
Geiger was ordered to pay over $4000 in fines and restitution, and complete 120 hours of community service.
Read full story here: Fire extinguisher attack on Clydesdale horses 'unintended'
4. Court orders release of CQ serial pedophile, 57
A SERIAL Emerald pedophile was been released on a supervision order after years of ongoing detention in the name of community safety.
Justice David Boddice delivered his ruling on the application for release in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on February 12.
Shane Charles Waghorn, now 57, has a long history of abusing children and breaching supervision orders when released back into the community.
In 1980, Waghorn was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
A year later he was convicted of molesting a seven-year-old girl.
Waghorn was imprisoned in the Australian Capital Territory after being convicted of abducting a child with the intent to sexually assault her.
On August 21, 1992, Waghorn pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated indecent assault, one count of attempted rape and one of deprivation of liberty against a 20-year-old woman.
He was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment.
5. Rockhampton plastic surgeon on trial over sexual assault allegations
A ROCKHAMPTON plastic surgeon defending himself against 25 sexual and common assault charges has been found not guilty of 17 of those counts following a 10-day trial.
Dr Elamurugan Arumugam, 55, had pleaded not guilty in Rockhampton District Court to the 25 charges in relation to allegations from seven female patients.
Patients' allegations ranged from inappropriate touching of their breasts to Dr Arumugam - known as Dr Aru by colleagues and patients - sticking his fingers in their mouths during consultations.
The jury returned 17 not guilty verdicts just after lunch on December 20 and were ordered by Judge Michael Burnett to continue deliberating on the remaining eight.
However, the jury had reached a stalemate by 4pm and Judge Burnett dismissed them from their duty.
Most of the not guilty verdicts were in relation to the fingers in the mouth allegations made by five of the seven women, which had sexual assault charges and alternative charges of common assault.
One of the not guilty verdicts was in relation to the woman who was examined post liposuction surgery.
The remaining eight charges are in relation to five of the seven women's complaints.
One charge is in relation to a 46-year-old woman who was examined by Dr Aru for skin cancers and he allegedly placed a hand on one of her breasts while turning her and taking photographs.
Another charge is for a woman who testified that her grandson was in the room when Dr Aru used his headlamp to distract the child and slip his hand under the patient's bra and touch her nipple.
6. Former Neerkol employee to stand trial over historical sex charges
A WANDAL man has pleaded not guilty to 11 rapes that allegedly occurred over 25 years at a notorious former Central Queensland orphanage.
Kevin Leslie Baker, 79, entered not guilty pleas to 82 charges at Rockhampton Magistrates Court on August 3 after he was ordered to stand trial in Rockhampton District Court.
The charges include 11 charges of rape, eight common assaults, 31 charges of indecent treatment of boys under 14, five indecent treatment of girls under 17, 15 charges of carnal knowledge against the order of nature, four indecent assault on a male, five indecent assault on female, one attempt to procure indecent practice between males, one charge of deprivation of liberty and one charge of wounding.
The alleged offences took place at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage, situated at Kabra west of Rockhampton, between 1951 and 1976.
The orphanage was run by the Sisters of Mercy from 1885 until its closure in 1978.
A trial date is yet to be set.
Baker's bail was enlarged.
7. $200k medical fraud funded man's lavish lifestyle
THOMAS Mainey took friends on a lavish trip, chartering a private plane between Rockhampton and Brisbane and rented a multi-bedroom penthouse in Sydney before his sophisticated medical fraud operation was uncovered.
Mainey, 26, in March pleaded guilty in Rockhampton District Court to fraud charges for stealing $203,420 from Medicare and private health funds, along with forging a Rockhampton doctor's signature for 40 prescriptions.
He also used the funds to pay for first class flights to Europe and top-level accommodation for him and his wife in 2015/16, along with spending money on jewellery, cigars, restaurants and electronic goods.
Thomas Henrick Mainey was employed as a practice manager for two specialists, Dr Debora Garcia and Dr Antonio Vega Vega, at Rockhampton Mater Hospital between May 2014 and January 2016 when he set up a sophisticated fraudulent operation based around a fake business, Cardiac Rhythm Analysis Queensland.
This operation included an ABN number, fraudulently obtaining a Medicare provider number under his employer's name, personalised stationary, paying to attend a specialists' conference in Sydney, an accountant, membership fees for an international cardiology association and medical malpractice civil liability insurance.
The court heard he made 1269 claims using 379 patients' names to Medicare, pocketing $118,972 into his own account; along with 34 patients' details for 38 claims to private health funds amounting to $84,428.
Mainey was sentenced to two years' prison for the health fund fraud and three years for the Medicare fraud to be served cumulatively. Mainey is set to be released from prison on July 15, 2019.
8. $10k fine for company helping drought-affected farmers
A HEAVY vehicle trucking company carting donated hay bound for drought-stricken farmers in western Queensland was fined $10,000.
Norseve Pty Ltd, the parent company of PK's Truckwise which operates out of Mackay, was ordered to pay the fine after director Peter Kenneth Lewis pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in Rockhampton Magistrates Court in September.
The company had four charges in relation to a b-double carrying hay being overloaded and that the gates to secure the load were either missing or not properly fitted.
Anthony Louden, prosecutor for the Department of Main Roads and Transport, said transport inspectors intercepted a b-double belonging to the company on the Bruce Hwy at Rockhampton on June 25, 2017, as it was travelling from Paget to Childers.
He said the side curtains of the trailers were bulging out.
Mr Louden said the maximum width of a hay load allowed on those trailers was 2.5m but the first trailer measured 2.61m and the second 2.69m.
He said the steel gates installed in the first trailer had not been fitted to restrain the load.
"The only thing restraining the bale of hay was the curtains,” Mr Louden said.
He said the second trailer had some gates on but they were not correctly in place.
Defence lawyer Rowan King said his client thought hay load limits were the same in Queensland as NSW.
He said Mr Lewis had provided the truck for a friend who was donating the hay to the western Queensland farmers impacted by drought for the cost of fuel and the driver's wage.
The story, first published in The Morning Bulletin, was the most popular story on the Courier Mail website.
9. Cops and female associate in steroid trafficking saga
In May 2017, two Rockhampton police officers and a female associate were charged in relation to steroids with one officer, Brent Culleton, charged with trafficking.
In March 2018, the other officer, Troy Pryczek, pleaded guilty to hacking a Queensland Police Service computer and failing in his duty as an officer to report criminal offending.
Pryczek used the police database to gain information about himself, his girlfriend and their friends 20 times in 16 days.
In September, Stephanie Alice Rumble, 28, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to eight supply dangerous drug charges and one of possessing a mobile phone used in drug-related crime after she "naively” accepted parcels on behalf of one of her co-accused.
Rumble did not financially profit from the supplies, which took place between November 24, 2016, and March 15, 2017.
Brent Anthony Culleton, who was a detective constable at the time of his arrest, has been charged with one count of trafficking, three of possessing a dangerous drug, one of failing to safely dispose of a syringe, one of possessing an item used in the commission of a crime, and eight counts of supplying a dangerous drug.
Culleton's contested charges were due to go to trial in December but the court was told the prosecution was waiting for a co-accused to have their matters finalised before starting this trial. The new trial date is January 28.
10. The Gracemere girl who filmed herself kicking a puppy
Claire Elizabeth West, 17, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty on January 15 after she sent video via Snapchat to her former boyfriend showing herself kicking a puppy more than 25 times.
The Gracemere teen's post caused national outcry as it circulated social media, before she was charged following a joint police-RSPCA investigation.
The court heard the teenager had received upsetting Snapchats from her former boyfriend and his new partner, which spurred her action.
West's video showed her kicking her pet, Buster, more than 25 times saying "Dog's dead... how do you like that?”.
The offence took place the day before and the video had been viewed 53,000 times by the time media reported on it.
She was banned from owning an animal for two years and handed a two-year probation order.