Butcher be­hind bars

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Mark Mur­ray

MOSS­MAN’S only butcher shop has sud­denly closed af­ter rev­e­la­tions its for­mer owner is in prison and fac­ing a string of se­ri­ous crim­i­nal charges.

Butcher Justin Wil­liam Fred­eric Ed­wards was ar­rested in Fe­bru­ary on al­leged un­law­ful stalk­ing, com­mon as­sault, dam­age by force, steal­ing and four counts of wil­ful dam­age of­fences.

His brother, Neil Brown­ing, had run the Moss­man Butcher­ing Com­pany in his ab­sence be­fore he was told by his brother to leave last month, leav­ing the town with­out a butcher for the first time in over 100 years.

Mr Ed­wards was re­manded in cus­tody at the Cairns Mag­is­trates Court in Au­gust with the mat­ter now be­fore the higher Dis­trict Court. He is fac­ing se­ri­ous jail time if found guilty.

Mr Brown­ing, who had left a lu­cra­tive min­ing job to keep the busi­ness run­ning, said he was sad­dened by the clo­sure.

“Ba­si­cally I am no longer in con­tact with Justin; he told me to leave the butcher shop,” he said.

“I’ve had to step away from it.

“I was do­ing the best I could; the butcher shop was fail­ing be­fore I got there and I sort of pulled it back,” he said.

Mr Brown­ing, a 30-year-old fa­ther, said his brother had ‘made a lot of bad choices’ and was fac­ing bank­ruptcy.

“I ac­tu­ally put $20,000 of my own money in. Legally I had to do what he said (and close the shop) and I’m now in a mas­sive amount of debt be­cause of it.”

He would return to work in the coal mines and wanted to thank his loyal cus­tomers over the past seven months.

“Ev­ery­one has been re­ally sup­port­ive of me; they know the sac­ri­fices I made for that shop,” he said.

“I did my trade in that shop, a lot of peo­ple know me.

“The cus­tomers are what turned the shop around and brought it back.

“There are peo­ple who have been go­ing there for over 20 years.”

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