Inflatable mat 'evidence' in Lennox surf rage incident
UPDATE, 12.15pm: AN INFLATABLE surf mat has been tendered as evidence in the hearing into an alleged surf rage incident.
Mark Andrew Thomson, 58, has pleaded not guilty to assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He's today facing the second part of a hearing into the allegations he held former pro surfer Jodie Cooper's head under the water at Lennox Head in the surf on August 22 last year.
Mr Thomson's barrister, Peter O'Connor, has called his client as a witness after the prosecution's evidence came to a close.
Mr Thomson, a Lennox Head resident, told the court the surf at Lennox Point was experiencing "one of the busiest ever" the day of the alleged incident.
When Mr O'Connor referred to the surf mat his client had carried into the court room, Mr Thomson said: "that's the craft I was riding on the day".
The mat in the court room was partially inflated, at a state Mr Thomson referred to as its "operational inflation" level.
Mr O'Connor asked his client, who designed the surf mat, about its capabilities.
"It's designed to go fast and in a straight line," he said.
When asked about the mat's manoeuvrability, Mr Thomson said this was "very limited" because, unlike a surfboard, it had no fins.
Joy Ford, who was earlier called as a prosecution witness, had told the court she saw the accused making steep turns toward Ms Cooper.
But Mr Thomson told the court this was a physical impossibility.
He has told the court he did not drop in on Ms Cooper and did not hold her underwater.
He said prior to an altercation, in which he claimed Ms Cooper hurled verbal abuse at him, he was struck to the back by a surfboard.
He spoke of later becoming entangled in the surfer's leg rope.
The mat has been tendered as evidence and Mr Thomson is expected to be cross-examined shortly.
During the matter's first hearing day, Ms Cooper recalled fearing for her life during the incident, which followed Mr Thomson allegedly "dropping in" on her wave.
More to come.
Original story: A HEARING into assault allegations against a Lennox Head man accused of holding a woman's head underwater during a surf rage incident will continue today.
Mark Andrew Thomson, 58, has arrived at Ballina Local Court carrying an inflatable board.
He faced a partial hearing earlier this year over the August 22, 2018 incident in which he allegedly held former pro surfer Jodie Cooper's head underwater in the surf.
He has denied the allegations.
In the previous hearing, Ms Cooper recalled fearing for her life during the incident.
More to come.