Portland pharmacy staff identify armed robbery accused despite disguise, court hears

A PORTLAND pharmacist yesterday identified a disguised man accused of armed robbery by his “nasally” voice,  caused by a hair lip.

Pharmacist Greg Anderson said it was regular customer Michael Wilson who pointed a knife at him and told him to get drugs out of a safe.

Michael David Wilson, 29, of Rundell Avenue, Portland, has pleaded not guilty to armed robbery of Portland’s Amcal Pharmacy in Percy Street on July 22 last year.

Both pharmacist Mr Anderson and pharmacy assistant Rebecca Wilson yesterday told a Warrnambool County Court jury they believed Mr Wilson was the armed robber.

He has been charged with the armed robbery and possessing Oxycontin — an opiate-based prescription medication known as hillbilly heroin.

Mr Anderson said he believed Mr Wilson had a jumper over his head when he came into the pharmacy about 6pm on July 22.

He said he identified Mr Wilson after he had only spoken a few words due to his nasally tone, caused by a hair lip or cleft palate.

He said the robber was armed with a knife and told him to get Oxycontin out of a safe. 

Mr Anderson said Oxycontin was a strong pain killer which could be abused or misused.

Mr Anderson said he took a “handful” out of the safe — he believed it was five packets of 28 tablets.

“Once he said a few things I recognised his voice. I had seen him numerous times. He was Michael Wilson,” he said.

Under vigorous cross-examination by Mr Wilson’s barrister David McKenzie, Mr Anderson said there was no doubt in his mind that the armed robber in the pharmacy was Mr Wilson.

Mr Anderson said Mr Wilson and his partner, who was on the methadone program, were regular customers in the pharmacy, coming in twice a week, and the pharmacist said he had numerous conversations with Mr Wilson.

He said the sounds of the words and the voice made him believe the armed robber was Mr Wilson.

Ms Wilson said she noticed a man with a stocking over the his head come into the pharmacy through the rear door.

She said the man had a knife but she didn’t hear him speak and was instructed by a pharmacist to go to the front of the store, which she did.

Ms Wilson said she recognised the armed robber as Mr Wilson as he was a regular customer.

She said she recognised him due to his height, slim build and the way he walked.

Under cross-examination Ms Wilson admitted that her first statement to police did not include her belief that the man was Mr Wilson, even though she said she made those observations to a policewoman.

“I don’t know why it was not included in the statement,” she said.

The trial before Judge Paul Grant will continue on Monday.