Accused violent home invader appears in court
CLINT James Bell, 26, appeared in Gladstone Magistrates Court yesterday, accused of forcing entry to a woman's home, robbing her and threatening her with a knife and hammer.
Mr Bell, who is charged with armed robbery with actual violence and entering a dwelling and committing an indictable offence, sat behind the courtroom glass as his lawyer applied for bail.
Opposing bail, Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore detailed how police would allege Mr Bell forced his way through the 62-year-old woman's front door on Monday morning after telling her he was a cleaner.
Sgt Elmore said Mr Bell then grabbed the woman by the throat and forced her backwards on to a table, demanding money before punching her in the head.
Police will allege he threatened her with a large knife before stealing $300 and a mobile phone.
Appearing on behalf of Mr Bell, defence lawyer Lauren Townsend raised a number of issues with the strength of the Crown's case, including the ability of witnesses to have identified her client entering and leaving the woman's Central Lane home given some of them had described a man wearing a bandanna across his face.
Ms Townsend also raised the issue of her client's drug-affected state at the time he made an alleged confession to police on Wednesday after being arrested on another matter.
She said there was not yet any formal statement from the victim, who required the help of a translator, and therefore any version of events given to the court so far by police had been gleaned from speaking to the woman despite the language barrier.
She also said police had not yet provided proof that a phone which had received a text message with directions to the victim's home belonged to Mr Bell, as well as the precise nature of allegedly stolen items later discovered at his residence.
Addressing questions of suitability for bail, Ms Townsend pointed out her client had adhered to bail conditions in the past, a point Magistrate Melanie Ho acknowledged despite the fact both charges against Mr Bell carried a potential maximum life sentence.
"People get charged with murder... they get bail, they get sent to jail and still turn up to court," Ms Ho said.
The remainder of the hearing was adjourned until Monday.