‘We’ll get the f**kers’: Stalking trial begins
A FAR North couple have fronted court charged with stalking after police allege they shared private photos of a councillor as part of a long-running council dispute.
Steven Paul Toogood, 55, and Julianne Toogood, 59, pleaded not guilty in Cairns District Court on Monday.
The court heard the Bingil Bay couple distributed material involving former Cassowary Coast deputy mayor Ricky Taylor to other councillors, staff, politicians, a real estate agent, the media and Mr Taylor's wife on many occasions between May and June 2017.
In her opening statement, Crown Prosecutor Claudia Georgouras said the defendants had issues with the council before stalking Mr Taylor to the point of harassment.
Ms Georgouras said the pair sent the council a settlement letter, suggesting it pay them $350,000 for their previous matters to be finalised.
"(It) was not entertained by the council," she said.
The court heard that a council assessment cleared Mr Taylor of any misconduct in relation to the material used to allegedly stalk him.
A police investigation also cleared him.
Ms Georgouras told the court that in a message Mr Toogood told his partner after the council's assessment, "We'll get the f--kers."
The court heard Mr Taylor resigned as deputy mayor because of the health impacts of the situation.
Former mayor John Kremastos told the court Mr Toogood handed him the photographs of Mr Taylor.
"(He) gave me an envelope and said it had potential to cause council some harm," Mr Kremastos said.
"I felt the blood drain from my face. It was something I wasn't expecting."
During cross examination, Joseph Jacobs, defence barrister for Mr Toogood, questioned Mr Kremastos' action in telling Mr Taylor that Mr Toogood had the material.
Mr Jacobs suggested that the former mayor breached the council's code of conduct and thereby the local government legislation.
"At the time I believe I was doing the right thing," Mr Kremastos said.
Fifteen other witnesses - including a journalist and other councillors - are set to testify during the trial.
Both defendants have been released on bail. The trial before Judge Leanne Clare continues.
Originally published as 'We'll get the f**kers': Stalking trial begins