Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street.
Lismore Court House in Zadoc Street. Marc Stapelberg

'Hop in the car': Man accused of stalking girl claims alibi

A HOMELESS man with previous convictions of offences against children has faced court accused of stalking a girl in Lismore.

Wayne Anthony Skinner, 50, was arrested in South Lismore about 4pm yesterday.

Mr Skinner sat silently in the dock of Lismore Local Court this morning

Police have alleged Mr Skinner approached a 10-year-old girl who was walking along a Lismore street about 3.20pm on Wednesday, November 7.

He allegedly slowed his white station wagon and said to her: "hop in the car".

Mr Skinner's solicitor Matthew Bogunovich applied for bail on his client's behalf, saying the quality of a photo array procedure in which the defendant was identified by the alleged victim was "unknown".

Mr Bogunovich said they were also sourcing evidence of an alibi.

"Phone records ... may back up an alibi claim and they will be sourced shortly," he said.

He said risks to the community could be mitigated through bail conditions, including that Mr Skinner was not to go within 20km of Lismore except for court and other legal reasons and that he reported to Grafton police often.

Police prosecutor Brett Gradisnik said the photo array was conducted "appropriately" by police and included 20 people of similar description.

He said the alleged victim's age and the "strength of the prosecution case" amounted to an "unacceptable risk" if Mr Skinner was released.

Magistrate David Heilpern said the alleged victim's identification of the defendant and CCTV of vehicles in the area at that time had contributed to Mr Skinner's arrest.

Mr Heilpern said while the accused claimed to have been in Ballina at the time of the alleged offence, the prosecution's concerns were "extremely valid".

This was supported by prior convictions of a like nature, Mr Heilpern said.

"The defendant has previously been charged and convicted of four matters of a similar nature," Mr Heilpern said.

He said this included two counts of indecent assault, along with the attempted sexual assault of a child under 10 years of age and that Mr Skinner's criminal record was "also littered with other matters".

"The protection of children is obviously extremely important," Mr Heilpern said.

Mr Heilpern refused bail and adjourned the matter to January 14.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will consider whether they will take on the matter.



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