A Tuross Head man, accused of shooting into an occupied home with a high-powered weapon, has been refused bail as police seek an alleged accomplice.
Wesley Hayles, 46, appeared in custody before Batemans Bay Local Court on Friday charged with firearm offences with police alleging he fired a bullet from a 6.5mm Carl Gustav Mauser bolt action rifle into the Grenville Ave unit just before 11pm on March 25. Two women were inside watching television at the time.
Mr Hayles is charged with firing a firearm at a dwelling house with reckless disregard to safety, firing a firearm in a manner likely to injure, possessing an unregistered firearm in a public place, not keeping a firearm safely, possessing an unregistered firearm, possessing an unauthorised firearm without a permit, possessing ammunition without a permit, and contravening an Apprehended Violence Order.
Defence lawyer Jennifer Power, in an unsuccessful bail application, said the police charge against her client was serious but was as yet untested.
She took issue with the police assertion that Mr Hayles had made an admission, saying she gave him legal advice (when arrested) not to take part in a police interview.
Ms Power said he told her that he would follow her advice but then gave an interview and allegedly made admissions after police told him “to come clean” because it was in his best interests.
Ms Power said she had concerns about this then referred to police facts before the magistrate stating that a co-accused had not been charged.
She had sought conditional bail of $250 with her client to live at Tomakin.
Bail was opposed by police prosecutor Sgt Marc Chaplin, who said there was a presumption against bail (because of the serious nature of the charges and allegations), and there was nothing in the defence argument to rebut that presumption.
Sgt Chaplin said there was an alleged co-offender at large whom police alleged used a firearm in an offence involving the accused, and that there would be a risk to the accused and others if he were granted bail.
He said it was an extremely serious matter in which a firearm was used to fire into a house when people were inside.
Magistrate David Degnan said police facts indicated someone had gone to a neighbouring property saying something was going to happen tonight because “we have had enough of her”.
That person was told if they heard something then not to call police “as you know it’s just us”.
“The person said these words early in the evening before the offence took place,” Mr Degnan said.
The magistrate said he was also concerned that the firearm found by police had been loaded.
He said it was a high-powered rifle and consistent with the calibre of weapon used that night.
When queried by the magistrate, Sgt Chaplin said no bullet was found at the scene.
Police have also seized a telescopic sight and ammunition.
Refusing bail, Mr Degnan then adjourned the matter to July 23.
Police have confirmed that the arrested man was taken to Moruya Hospital for treatment after his arrest and charged on his release.
Police urge anyone with information to contact Batemans Bay Police on 4472 0099 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.