A man who was found guilty of repeatedly smashing his then-girlfriend’s head into a wall at their Byron Bay hotel because another man bought her drinks has been acquitted of the crime.
Aaron Logue, 40, was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in Byron Bay Local Court on December 20 last year, despite denying the charge and arguing he had been set up.
The court heard the Coffs Harbour man brutally bashed his ex-partner after discovering a man had bought her drinks at a hotel restaurant while he was away for a short while. He then made sexually suggestive comments to her sister, the court was told.
Logue denied hitting on the sister. For the assault, he was sentenced to a two year community correction order and fined $2000.
But today, he succeeded in appealing his conviction at Lismore District Court after a judge questioned the credibility of his ex-girlfriend’s account before the hearing.
Judge Jonathan Priestley said the evidence showed she “exaggerated” her injuries by claiming she had a split head but it “appeared little more than an abrasion or small cut” and referencing a photo of blood on a pillow.
Judge Priestley said officers did not find blood on the pillow or wall.
“It (the blood) is simply not there, nor does it look like a pillow,” Judge Priestley said, referencing police photos from the scene.
He found the wall was made of plasterboard, not tile as the woman had claimed, and that it had a “lack of damage”.
He also found the sentencing magistrate did not take into account her intoxication when determining her ability to clearly remember events, saying she told the court “in her own evidence she had two cocktails and 10 glasses of wine” before the alleged incident.
“(The defence submission was) there was an early conclusion the complainant was a reliable witness,” Judge Priestley said.
He found the complainant’s evidence was not sufficiently reliable to satisfy him beyond reasonable doubt of Logue’s guilt, upheld his appeal and set aside his conviction.
The defence team indicated its intention to apply for costs to be paid.