Lawyer cleared of attack
PROMINENT Tweed Heads lawyer Bill Morland admits punching his former surf club mate Trevor 'Stumpy' Bathie in self defence, but Mr Bathie's allegation that the lawyer attacked him from behind became seriously unhinged because of a flyscreen door.
Lismore Local Court magistrate Robyn Denes yesterday dismissed two charges against Mr Morland of assault causing bodily harm and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Bathie at the lawyer's Tweed Heads home in November 2006.
Ms Denes found Mr Morland, 49, had no case to answer because she did not believe the complainant's evidence which claimed the lawyer struck him from behind on a small landing, because a screen door, when opened, would have been between Mr Bathie and Mr Morland.
She said photos of the screen door and evidence from Mr Bathie as to where he was standing meant it was impossible for him to be hit the way he alleged.
Mr Bathie, 50, accused Mr Moreland of attacking him from behind, saying “when I turned that's when Bill came charging through the door” to assault him, causing head and facial injuries including a serious eye injury.
Ms Denes disbelieved Mr Bathie's evidence that he was not drunk, despite witness evidence he was 'pretty pissy' in an argument between the two men at Greenmount Surf Club three hours before. A medical report from Tweed Heads hospital stated the presence of alcohol.
Mr Bathie claimed Mr Morland assaulted him because of jealousy after he “cuddled and kissed on the cheek” his wife when she won a surf club chook raffle.
“I got knocked semi-silly. I remember about 10 blows. It was a good whack I got. I don't know what he hit me with but it was a good one,” Mr Bathie said.
“A nurse asked if I'd been in a car crash. I threw up for a week.”
Mr Morland's evidence, tendered by lawyer James Fuggle, stated Mr Bathie at the surf club was “leaning” on his wife Leanne Reid and another woman and he told him “'Stump' just leave the girls alone mate... that's my wife leave her alone” with Mr Bathie abusing him.
When Mr Bathie arrived at his home later that night he raised his fist at him: “I believed he was going to attack me so I punched him. Stumpy punched me ... I thought he was about to throw another punch so I hit him again,” stated Mr Morland. He said Mr Bathie's injuries happened when he fell onto a veranda post.