Ex-cops stand trial over robbery
TWO former senior NSW police officers, Wayne Duckworth and his mate and former rugby league player Brett Gale, will stand trial in the Lismore District Court over the alleged robbery of $36,000 from the Nimbin Hotel.
Lismore Local Court Magistrate Jeff Linden ordered both men to stand trial after hearing evidence during their committal hearing in which the Crown alleged the Nimbin armed robbery had been ‘staged’.
Duckworth, 50, of Cabarita Beach, a former detective, is charged with stealing $36,781 cash from Nimbin Hotel Pty Ltd, while employed there as a manager on June 26, 2006. He is also charged with larceny.
Brett Gale, 46, of Brighton in Queensland, a former NSW anti-theft squad officer and first grade rugby league player with Sydney’s Western Suburbs, is charged with larceny of $36,781 from the hotel.
The Crown said that on the morning of the robbery the men made phone calls to each other at Murwillumbah, with Gale leaving his car in the town and driving in Duckworth’s car back to Nimbin where the pair ‘staged the robbery’.
The Crown said Duckworth later told police a robber made him drive his car to the village of Uki, outside of Murwillumbah, that same day and dump it.
Crown witness Joseph Slattery, 30 , gave evidence that while serving a sentence in a low security Queensland prison he formed a friendship with both Duckworth and Gale, who were both serving prison sentences on unrelated matters.
Mr Slattery said he met them in late 2007 and subsequently (during 2008) spoke to Gale every day.
“He (Gale) told me that he and Duckworth did an armed robbery that was staged. That Brett (Gale) was the one who came down the stairs to hold up the hotel.
“I first heard of the offence in January 2008 from Mr Duckworth when I was down in his unit in C Block. I would speak to him most days.
“He was not happy. He was spewing that Brett (Gale) let it slip in a police interview of the offence that happened in Nimbin.
“He started explaining to me what it was. He (Duckworth) started to speak to me about an armed robbery at the hotel he was managing.
“That someone took him at gunpoint. Took him out to his car and that person drove him to the bush, dumped him, and his car was taken to Murwillumbah and the keys were left in the car.”
Defence barrister Paul Rosser put it to Mr Slattery that he was an ‘accomplished liar’ and would tell people anything to get something in return.
After taking into account the evidence of Mr Slattery and written submissions from the Crown, Mr Linden said there was enough evidence to order both men to stand trial.
He adjourned the matter to the Lismore District Court in October with a trial date to be set.