Brothers cleared of street robbery

BYRON BAY brothers Angus Atkins McDonald, 19, and Benjamin Morris Atkins, 23, walked from Lismore District Court free men yesterday after a 12-person jury found them not guilty of assault and robbery in company.

However, the jury did find them guilty of common assault.

During the six-day trial the court was told the brothers attacked two teenagers, Aaron Want, now 20, and Broby Martin, now 17, in Jonson Street, Byron Bay, about 3.30pm on October 8 last year.

Eyewitnesses gave evidence of seeing McDonald punching and kicking Mr Want with Atkins landing a few punches and kicks on one occasion when Mr Want slipped to the ground. Mr Martin avoided being hit by dodging and weaving around parked cars, but his iPod was knocked off his body during the melee and ultimately lost.

While making his submissions, the Crown prosecutor said the attack on Mr Want and Mr Martin was revenge for an incident in April last year involving up to 16 young people in Ballina when Benjamin Atkins was stabbed in the chest.

He said Atkins held Mr Want responsible. On October 8, the Crown prosecutor said McDonald and Atkins thought Mr Want had a knife in his bag, but no knife was ever found.

He said it was clear who the aggressors were and who were the victims, with Mr Want and Mr Martin trying to get away from their attackers.

Defence barristers Megan Cusack and Nicolas Harrison said the'incident was a blur of' colour and movement.

Ms Cusack said each witness gave different versions of the event, which was not surprising seeing the incident happened over a couple of minutes possibly involving up to six people.

Mr Harrison said there was no medical evidence of Mr Want’s injuries and he did not give his statement for six months after the event.

Both Atkins and McDonald were remanded in custody after the incident until granted bail by the Supreme Court in February this year.

They were each sentenced to three months’ jail for assault, backdated to October last year.



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