Mur­der trial will not be moved

Noth­ing to war­rant shift from Wan­garatta: court

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

WAN­GARATTA man Ja­cob Al­lan has failed in his bid to have his mur­der trial moved from Wan­garatta to Mel­bourne.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was this week re­fused by Supreme Court Jus­tice Les­ley Tay­lor.

Al­lan re­mains in cus­tody, awat­ing trial on the charge of mur­der­ing Rus­sell Berry dur­ing an af­fray in White Street at Wan­garatta on May 19 last year.

Po­lice al­lege Mr Berry died at the Royal Mel­bourne Hos­pi­tal af­ter the ac­cused punched him to the face, kicked him to the up­per body, ribs and head and stomped on his head.

Al­lan has pleaded not guilty and main­tains at all times he had acted in self de­fence.

His de­fence team made ap­pli­ca­tion to have the trial heard in Mel­bourne be­cause they be­lieve he would not re­ceive a fair trial in Wan­garatta due to lo­cal prej­u­di­cial public­ity and in­ad­e­quate cus­to­dial ar­range­ments.

How­ever, an af­fi­davit sub­mit­ted by De­tec­tive Se­nior Con­sta­ble Anna Kirishian re­vealed the me­dia cov­er­age was rel­a­tively “at the lower end of the scale” and was not ex­clu­sive to lo­cal news sources.

The court heard Al­lan would be held in the cells at the Wan­garatta Court, which were “ac­cept­able from the point of view of en­sur­ing the ac­cused was able to ap­pro­pri­ately par­tic­i­pate in his trial”.

Supreme Court Jus­tice Les­ley Tay­lor re­fused the ap­pli­ca­tion as there was not suf­fi­cient cause “to war­rant a change in venue of the trial”.

“There is noth­ing about the pre-trial public­ity in this mat­ter that ren­ders it un­usual,” Jus­tice Tay­lor said.

“It could not be de­scribed as ‘toxic’ or ‘hos­tile’.

“It is not in­flam­ma­tory and it is not in­ac­cu­rate.

“I am sat­is­fied the cus­to­dial ar­range­ments pro­posed for the ac­cused for the du­ra­tion of his trial are sat­is­fac­tory.

“I ac­cept the ev­i­dence that, should there be a change of venue for the trial, the cost and in­con­ve­nience to par­tic­u­larly civil­ian wit­nesses would be sig­nif­i­cant.”

A di­rec­tions hear­ing will be held on Novem­ber 23 to con­firm the dates and length of the trial, which is due to be­gin on Jan­uary 30 next year.

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