Court dismisses charges against Big Rob
UPDATE: A MAGISTRATE has dismissed all charges against Big Rob stemming from an encounter he had with a woman at a Lismore sushi restaurant last November.
Magistrate Brian Van Zuylen said the court had not been persuaded beyond reasonable doubt that any of Rob's actions on the evening of November 22 and in the days following amounted to either stalking or intimidation or assault.
Rob gave evidence at his hearing in Lismore Local Court today that he had "smashed a few plates of sushi" at Lismore Central's Sushi Kuni restaurant when he was told someone was taking a photo of him from outside the shop.
"I turned to see (the alleged victim) Leanne Martin taking a photo," he said.
"She was outside the… restaurant… she walked around to the entrance… and entered to the counter," he said.
"I stood up and walked (towards her). I said 'did you just take photo of me?', and took a photo of her straight after that."
"She abused me… (she said) 'f**k off you fat c**t, why would you take a photo of me I don't know you'."
Rob said he knew Ms Martin and had banned her from his former kebab shop and his Facebook group about two years ago.
"Have you ever received adverse social media posts from Leanne Martin?" his solicitor Vince Boss asked.
"Yes I have".
Earlier witness Darren Bell, former manager of PlayQuest Lismore, had given evidence that he was having dinner at Sushi Kuni on November 22 when Rob approached Ms Martin in a "highly aggressive and intimidating manner", then "put a camera in her face and took a photo".
The police allegation included that Rob had grabbed Ms Martin's shirt, which constituted an alleged assault.
After the incident Rob made several references to Ms Martin as a "feral" and "drug addict" in Facebook posts, on a radio show, and visited her then workplace, Multitask, a Lismore disability services provider.
During cross examination, police prosecutor Jodie Miller suggested Rob wanted to "show (Ms Martin) in a bad light" by suggesting she was an "illegal drug user" and questioning whether she should be working in the disability support sector.
"You knew that if that got back to Leanne somehow that would cause her some stress," Ms Miller said.
She said Rob attended Multitask "in order to stalk her" and his posts were intended to cause her "mental anguish".
Rob said he was just making a complaint about her conduct and said maybe she would be upset by his posts, but not "intimidated" or "harassed".
"I had no intention of upsetting her, I was just venting what was going on in my life," he told the court.
In his ruling, Magistrate Van Zuylen said he wasn't persuaded beyond reasonable doubt there was any actual assault of Ms Martin by Rob, nor intimidation on the evening.
He also said that while Big Rob's conduct towards Ms Martin on Facebook was "rude, discourteous, and insulting" but he couldn't find beyond reasonable doubt it constituted stalking or intimidation.
All charges were dismissed.
ORIGINAL: FOOTAGE of police arresting Lismore identity Big Rob over an alleged assault has been aired in Lismore Local Court today.
Rob is facing a hearing over three counts of stalking and intimidation and one count of assault in relation to his alleged confrontation with a woman, Leanne Martin, in a Lismore restaurant late last year.
Police allege Ms Martin was in the Sushi Kuni restaurant in the Lismore Central shopping centre, on November 22 last year when she was approached and abused by Rob after taking a photograph from outside the venue. Rob allegedly grabbed her by the shirt.
It is alleged that Rob then threatened and intimidated the woman on subsequent occasions in the following days.
The court heard that the woman had attended Lismore police station on the day of the alleged incident complaining that Rob was calling her a "drug user and a feral" on Facebook.
Rob has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Jodie Miller has called five witnesses to give evidence, as well as tendering written, audio, and video evidence.
One of the exhibits was a video which Big Rob aired live to Facebook when he was arrested by Lismore police on November 25 three days after the alleged incident.
The video depicts Rob driving to the Lismore police station before entering the station and being placed formally under arrest. In it, he refers to one of the arresting officers as an "obnoxious turd" and referred to the allegations as "bogus".
A second exhibit was an audio recording taken from Rob's radio program in which he again discussed the incident and referred to the alleged victim as a "feral" and "foul mouthed"
In the radio broadcast Rob said Ms Martin took a photo of him and he then approached her to ask her about the photo. He claims she then abused him, calling him a "fat pig" and the "c word".
Witness Darren Bell, former manager of PlayQuest Lismore, gave evidence that he was having dinner at Sushi Kuni on November 22 when Rob approached Ms Martin in a "highly aggressive and intimidating manner", then "put a camera in her face and took a photo".
Mr Bell said he could see that the woman was "visibly upset", and the phone was in "six inches of her face".
"She physically pulled back... she appeared to be completely shocked by what was occurring," he told Ms Miller.
Rob's solicitor Vince Boss said asked Mr Bell if he ever heard Ms Martin call Rob a "d**khead".
He also asked her if it was the case whether Ms Martin ordered her dinner after the incident, or had already eaten.
The hearing continues.