Matthew Reynolds
Matthew Reynolds

Skipper faces court

A TWEED Heads man charged with six counts of manslaughter over a horror boat crash on Sydney Harbour has been left severely injured, a court has been told.

More than nine months after the collision that claimed the lives of six of his friends, Matthew Reynolds, 32, yesterday faced court for the first time, charged over their deaths.

Reynolds was one of 14 people on an overcrowded runabout that slammed into another boat near Bradley's Head in May 2008.

He suffered permanent injuries to his back as a result.

Unshaven and casually dressed, Reynolds faced Ballina Local Court yesterday where his acting counsel Ian McKay said his client continued to suffer daily from his injuries.

“This person is in severe pain,” he told the court.

“He's on significant amounts of medication and he is without that at the moment.

“If he has four or five nights in custody, who knows where that will end?”

Reynolds faces a total 23 charges, including six counts of manslaughter, dangerous navigating under the influence of alcohol and cocaine and supplying cocaine.

Mr McKay said Reynolds' Sydney-based solicitor Greg Walsh would be making an emergency dash to Ballina today to apply for bail.

“He's co-operated fully with police, and (the arrest) came as a shock,” Mr Walsh said after the hearing.

“I didn't know anything about it and the police certainly didn't tell me.

“Police are using him for collateral purposes to obtain adverse publicity.”

Mr Walsh said he intended to present significant evidence to the court during today's bail appli- cation.

Reynolds is the second person to be charged over the collision, following the arrest of 24-year-old Sydney barman Percy Small in November.

Small faces similar dangerous navigation charges, but none of manslaughter.

Reynolds, a qualified skipper, has previously said he was not at the wheel at the time of the crash.

His father, Charlie Reynolds, a respected charter boat operator, would not comment after yesterday's hearing.

Police prosecutor Steve Garrish indicated the Director of Public Prosecutions would seek to have the case relocated to Sydney as soon as possible.

Magistrate Kim Pogson adjourned the matter to the same court today and remanded Reyn- olds in custody.

The crash on May 1 last year killed Reynolds' girlfriend Ashlei Ayres, 32, as well as Alexander Rumiz, 22, Jessica Holloway, 25, Elizabeth Holder, 20, Stacey Wright, 21, and Alexandre Nikakis, 29.

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