Murder trial will not be moved
Nothing to warrant shift from Wangaratta: court
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.