A WARRNAMBOOL jury needed only a lunch break to return not guilty verdicts in a trial involving a Digby farmer who admitted punching a neighbour.
Heath John Goodman, 42, of Rashleigh Street, Digby, had pleaded not guilty in the Warrnambool County Court to three alternate charges — intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.
The jury of nine men and three women retired to consider verdicts just before 1pm yesterday after hearing closing addresses from Crown prosecutor Kevin Doyle and defence counsel Paul Scanlon, QC, and a charge from Judge Mark Taft. They returned not guilty verdicts just after 2pm.
Mr Scanlon said after the verdicts the Goodmans were a very happy family.
The trial heard that the charges related to an altercation about 4.30pm on November 25, 2012, when landlord Ian Douglas and tenant Ronald Ross were loading a dismantled shed on to a trailer at Digby while Heath Goodman and his father John were moving sheep down a road nearby.
In his closing address Mr Doyle said there was no doubt Mr Ross was a rude, angry loner with a troubled background.
He said the case had been characterised as a “good bloke versus a bad bloke”, but the evidence of Mr Douglas supported Mr Ross and there was no doubt Mr Ross had been punched, knocked to the ground and taken to hospital.
The prosecutor said that when he was called a liar in court Mr Ross was angry and “did overdo it”, but that didn’t mean he was not telling the truth.
Mr Doyle said no one was allowed to go on to someone’s property and thump another person.
In reply, Mr Scanlon said Heath Goodman struck Mr Ross but it was perfectly legal and justifiable to protect himself and his father.