Lennox affray conviction quashed

Shaun Vidler (right) and his mate Will Davis outside Lismore Courthouse.
Shaun Vidler (right) and his mate Will Davis outside Lismore Courthouse.

TINTENBAR man ShaunVidler has been successful in his appeal before Lismore District Court to have a local court conviction for theoffence of affray at Lennox Head overturned.

Judge James Black yesterday allowed his appeal and quashed a Ballina Local Court conviction on the charge and the magistrate’s ruling that the 20-year-old serve six months’ jail. Judge Black dismissed the charge.

However, Vidler agreed he had been drinking a lot on October 3, 2008, and admitted to assault causing bodily harm after punching a 15-year-old youth twice in the face at Lennox Head.

Vidler last year pleaded not guilty to the charge of affray (but guilty to assault) with the matter going to a hearing last June in Ballina Local Court before magistrate Kim Pogson.

His lawyer, Ian Lord, then lodged an immediate appeal on behalf of his client over the magistrate’s decision.

Supported at the Lismore court yesterday by family and friends, Vidler’s mother Paula Vidler afterwards said the time waiting for the appeal to be heard was very stressful on her son and the family.

“I am so proud of my son. We have suffered over the last few months,” she said.

“We got letters of abuse but the truth always comes out.”

Defence counsel Peter O’Connor argued the Crown could not make out the circumstances of the affray charge when it was looked at objectively.

Vidler’s former girlfriend told Judge Black she did not give evidence last year because of school exams.

She said a boy sitting on a seat at Lennox Head called Vidler ‘fat’.

Vidler asked: “Who said that?” The boy stood up.

She said Vidler pushed him and the boy pushed back.

“Shaun retaliated. He punched him in the face, with a closed fist. Two blows,” she said.

The girl said they then immediately left in a car driven by Shaun’s mate Will Davis.

Cross-examined by Mr O’Connor she said there were no others involved and denied that she, Vidler and Mr Davis had travelled in ‘a convoy’ of cars with other people, as previously alleged by the boy.

“That charge can’t be substantiated. There is no way a push followed by two blows would amount to an affray,” Mr O’Connor argued.

Alfred Proberts, who was also a new witness, gave evidence he had not been at the scene or taken part that night, despite being named by the boy.

Judge Black believed the evidence of the new witnesses and could not reach the same conclusion as the magistrate on the affray charge.

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