Trial for Byron Bay Hotel bashings
THREE Northern Rivers men will stand trial in the Lismore District Court on serious assault charges after a violent incident outside a Byron Bay hotel.
The three men – Nicholas Stafford Sharp, 27, of Ocean Shores; Dean William Phelps, 25, of Suffolk Park; and Lee Frederick Funnell, 26, of Brunswick Heads – have each entered pleas of not guilty.
It is alleged they inflicted grievous bodily harm to Dallas Arnold, 31, at Byron Bay on March 7 this year, and that they threatened to use unlawful violence towards Campbell McFarlane and other persons to cause fear.
During their arraignment on Wednesday before Judge James Black, Phelps and Funnell also pleaded not guilty to a third charge that they in company assaulted Nathan Spratt, 31, causing himactual bodily harm.
An earlier police charge ofattempted murder against Sharp was not listed on the indictment.
The Crown may call as many as 20 witnesses, with some expected to detail seeing a man being kicked while lying on the ground and another man stomping on his head outside the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay.
In November, the trio waived their right to a committal hearing and elected to stand trial.
On arrival at the Lismore Court House, Sharp laughed and produced a small camera to shoot photos of waiting media photographers, while Phelps hid his face beneath a suit jacket he draped over his head.
Funnell’s lawyer, Russell Baxter, told the court his client had been served with a fresh indictment the night before court and there was now perhaps ‘room to move’, with senior counsel from Sydney torepresent his client.
Mr Baxter said that with some ‘movement’ a two-week trial might possibly be avoided.
Sharp is banned from visiting Byron Bay as part of his bail conditions and his barrister, Nicolas Harrison, successfully applied for a bail variation, unopposed by the Crown, to allow Sharp to visit so he could attend a school reunion on the night of December 19.
All three cases were adjourned to February 8 to set a trial date.