Stalking convictions reversed on appeal
A PINE CREEK man has successfully appealed a conviction that saw a Magistrate Court rule he was guilty of two counts of stalking, following an ongoing dispute with his neighbours.
Court documents show after the initial three-day trial in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court from May 12–14, 2014, Acting Magistrate Mark Morrow found Robert Peter Ralph guilty of stalking Ian and Monique Edwards.
Despite Magistrate Marrow rejecting many of the acts alleged by the Edwards, he did find three acts which he found proved the elements of the offence of stalking in each case.
“The only intentional conduct by Mr Ralph towards both Ian and Monique Edwards that has been proven beyond reasonable doubt is the removing of the signage from the front grid on 23rd January 2013; the placing of a sign on the second grid in relation to ‘No Trespassers’ and the ‘dickhead’ or ‘masturbation’ gestures and the staring at them on 25th February, 2013,” he said.
“The evidence of prior hostility to Edwards supports the conclusion that the conduct was intentionally directed at them.”
But in a written decision last week, Judge John Robertson said it was plainly unreasonable and illogical to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution had satisfied the elements of the charges.
“This was a case of mutual combat, with both sides behaving badly at times,” he said.
“It is impossible to reconcile his Honour’s conclusions.
“Verdicts of acquittal are entered in relation to both charges.”
A two-year restraining order against Ralph and fine was also set aside.