THE witness in an assault case yesterday refused to disclose his surname or address in court after claiming he was frightened of the accused man and his family.
Heath John Goodman, 42, of Rashleigh Street, Digby, pleaded not guilty in the Warrnambool County Court trial to three assault-related offences.
The witness, previously known as Ronald Ross, yesterday admitted to having had seven different names, a criminal record and spending time in Pentridge prison.
He refused to disclose to the court his current surname or address, even when instructed to by Judge Mark Taft, saying he was frightened of the Goodmans. During cross-examination Mr Ross was frequently frustrated and called Mr Goodman’s counsel Peter Scanlon, QC, an ass, a dickhead and twice a twit.
The court heard Mr Goodman and another man, Ian Douglas, had been neighbours in Digby for about 17 years.
Mr Ross moved in as a tenant with Mr Douglas but there was bad blood between the neighbours relating to a dog and they were not on speaking terms before the incident on November 25, 2012.
About 4.30pm that day, Mr Douglas and Mr Ross were loading a dismantled shed onto a trailer while Mr Goodman and his father John were moving about 800 sheep down the road.
In opening addresses, Crown prosecutor Kevin Doyle said Mr Goodman walked along the driveway where Mr Ross and Mr Douglas were working and yelled something to Mr Ross, like he was a “grey-haired old bastard”.
Mr Ross had a post in his hand, which he threw at Mr Goodman in order to deter him, and which landed near him.
Mr Doyle said Mr Goodman stepped over the post and punched Mr Ross to the head. The victim went to ground and Mr Goodman then delivered a flurry of punches.
While on his hands and knees, Mr Ross attempted to headbutt Mr Goodman to the groin.
Mr Doyle said Mr Ross went to hospital in an ambulance suffering abrasions and bruising to his forehead, chest and an arm.
Mr Scanlon said his client had gone to the aid of his sick father and Heath Goodman was “a good man” by name and nature.
He said the Goodmans requested Mr Douglas close his gate while they were moving sheep and were told by Mr Ross to “f... off” and if the sheep came in he would shoot them.
Mr Scanlon said John Goodman, who was ill, walked across the road and stood in Mr Douglas’ driveway.
He said Mr Ross then abused John Goodman, whose son saw Mr Ross was carrying a two-metre long piece of wood. Heath Goodman got between his father and Mr Ross, brushed aside the piece of wood and made contact to Mr Ross.
Mr Scanlon said the son had stepped in to defend his father and under the law it was reasonable for Mr Goodman to defend himself and his father.
Mr Ross said that twice in the months leading up to November 25 he had been involved in incidents with Heath Goodman.