One-punch trial delayed by car crash

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Assault victim Tobiah Pocklington needed surgery on his broken jaw last year.
Camera IconAssault victim Tobiah Pocklington needed surgery on his broken jaw last year. Credit: The West Australian, Megan Powell

A Mt Barker man set to stand trial over an alleged one-punch assault outside Studio 146 nightclub has been remanded in custody and the trial date vacated after he was involved in a car crash a day before the trial was set to start.

Samuel Donald Ford was set to defend allegations he punched Tobiah Pocklington in the early hours of July 29, having pleaded not guilty to grievous bodily harm last year.

Mr Pocklington, 26, suffered a fractured skull, hairline fractures around his eye sockets, damage to his teeth and a fractured jaw requiring a steel plate and screws.

Threats of violence and bribery towards an alibi witness were revealed this week in the bail application for Mr Ford, who pleaded with Judge Stephen Scott to be released from custody.

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The court heard Mr Ford was on his way to trial when his car being driven by his brother was involved in a serious crash on Monday.

Defence counsel Anthony Eyers applied for the trial date to be vacated and Mr Ford to receive bail due to suffering nausea, memory loss and “general confusion” after hitting a tree and sustaining a significant head injury. Mr Ford was assessed at Albany Health Campus on Monday before fronting court on Tuesday afternoon.

State prosecutor Lisa Boston said she was “very sceptical” about the degree of injuries sustained by Mr Ford to prevent him standing trial and there was no objective medical evidence to support the trial being vacated.

She told the court the State would apply for a charge of conspiracy to defeat justice to be added to the indictment and a co-accused to stand trial on that charge. She vigorously opposed bail, detailing the allegations that Mr Ford offered a $20,000 incentive for a false alibi in conversations obtained through surveillance. Ms Boston said she believed Mr Ford would manipulate the court process if released.

Mr Ford pleaded with Judge Scott to grant him bail, telling the court he intended to attend the trial before the car accident.

He was remanded in custody until a court appearance on July 23 when a new trial date will be set.

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