Long wait on bail decision for murder accused

AN ACCUSED murderer will be forced to wait to see when his trial is scheduled to be held before he finds out whether his bail application has been successful.

Sean Murray Hopkins, 29, from Hervey Bay is accused of murdering Aaron Dale MacFarlane, 30, at Mt Isa on January 4, 2012.

Police alleged Hopkins, along with Aaron Jon Woodsbey, 28, and Laura Louise Waller, 20, shot Mr MacFarlane in the stomach with a shot gun after a drug deal went wrong.

Mr MacFarlane died in Mt Isa Hospital the following day.

However, Hopkins applied for bail in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday (Dec 13) in light of evidence produced at a comitial hearing in October.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards told the court the evidence produced at the hearing revealed an "extremely weak" case against his client.

He further argued there was some doubt surrounding whether Hopkins' murder trial would start in March or November next year.

"The comitial hearing revealed a very weak case against my client," he said.

"After hearing the evidence at the comitial hearing there is really no link to my client and the alleged offence.

"The Crown can no longer form a case against my client based on evidence they thought they initially had.

"Their main witness has provided false statements and alibis and was then afforded indemnity by the prosecution.

"They are totally reliant on an indemnified witness."

Mr Edwards further argued, given the lack of evidence produced at the committal hearing, Hopkins could not be deemed a flight risk.

"He has an extremely supportive family and very strong ties to his community," he said.

"He has heard the Crown's evidence against him and based on their extremely weak case there is actually no incentive to flee.

"He is in a position where there is a very strong likelihood he will not be convicted of the charge he is facing."

Justice Peter Applegarth erred on the side of caution and said the bail application would not be granted and adjourned the matter to future date to be fixed.

He said if the trial did not proceed in March he would re-hear the application.

"Rather than just dismiss the application I will adjourn the matter to wait and see if the trial proceeds in March," he said.

"I too regard the Crown's case as not particularly strong one and it is something I have taken into consideration."


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