That trial involved defendants Hassan Ibrahim, Scott Orrock and Paul Griffin, with charges including malicious infliction of grievous bodily harm, malicious wounding, assault and related matters. The current judgment reports that the Crown argued that members of the Sydney Chapter of the Nomads Motor Cycle Gang attacked members of the Newcastle Chapter of that gang at the latter's clubhouse. One victim was Crown witness and sometime Newcastle Nomads sergeant-at-arms Dale Campton, alleged to have been shot in both knees and beaten by the accused.
SMH coverage in 2008 reported that
Mr Campton was stripped of his club jacket and a gold ring with the club's insignia on it, and then was pulled to his feet and forced to stagger inside to the clubhouse, where he was again punched and knocked to the floor, Mr Barr said.Just made for Australian television! In October 2008 Ibrahim, Griffin and Orrock were acquitted.
The Sydney members then left the clubhouse and rode off on their bikes.
Police arrived soon after to find one of the Newcastle Nomads trying to wash large pools of blood away, Mr Barr said.
They found a .22 calibre bullet lying on the ground, several .45 shell casings, some blood-soaked clothing and blood "running down the driveway and the backyard of the clubhouse, as well as pooling around the motorcycles", Mr Barr said.
When police interviewed Mr Campton in hospital two days later, he would not identify his attackers. "He said he didn't know who did it and he didn't want to know who did it," Mr Barr said.
It was only much later, in May 2006, that Mr Campton told police that Orrock, Ibrahim and Griffin had been involved in the attack, Mr Barr said.
Acquittal was, of course, independent of questions regarding whether Rakete had interfered with the administration of justice. The Supreme Court noted that -
It was considered that Mr Campton was a high risk or vulnerable witness as he had apparently broken some ill defined code of silence for which motorcycle gangs were thought to be notorious.Rakete had attended the hearing as a member of the public and made a video recording of Campton in the court room. He had not sought permission to film in court. Court officers gained possession of Rakete's camera and recovered audio-visual content that the latter had deleted.
expressly denied the suggestion when put to him that his purpose in filming the witness was to obtain Mr Campton's image in order that it might be used in some form of retaliatory action against him. [He] denied that he had gone to the seat in the viewing gallery that had the best view of the witness in the witness box. He also denied that he had ceased filming and had commenced to delete his recorded images only after he had been apprehended ...In considering two charges against Rakete the Supreme Court noted "the proposition that the film was to be used in the course of some form of reprisal against the witness", commenting somewhat acerbically that -
This is stated with ease but explained only with difficulty. I am somewhat troubled by the unadorned notion that there is some available connection between the filming of a witness giving evidence and the fact or suggestion of reprisals against that witness for so doing. It would be different perhaps if the name and image of the witness were unknown or in doubt. In this case, somewhat counter-intuitively, the witness was so well known to the accused that they were standing trial for having shot him in the legs for transgressing some code by which they were all bound. He had not been intimidated before that happened and his position in the witness box rather suggested that he remained unintimidated. It also remains unexplained in such circumstances what relationship there is to be found between the hypothetically foreshadowed reprisals against him for giving evidence and the need for film of him in the witness box as he did so.However, the Supreme Court found that the Prothonotary, representing the State, had established beyond reasonable doubt that the act had a tendency to interfere with the administration of justice. It was not established that the witness was filmed with the intent to interfere with the administration of justice. However, intention was not required; it was sufficient for the act of recording Campton to interfere with the administration.
The decision is a useful reminder for people not to make unauthorised happy snaps or home videos in courtrooms: leave Underbelly to the professional producers.