Fear of retribution

A ROBINVALE man accused of severely wounding a Mildura man with a blade in a street fight should not be released on bail because the victim fears retribution, a court has heard.

Keith James Doolan, 46, is applying for bail in the Mildura Magistrates’ Court after being arrested on Monday, accused of bringing a machete-like knife into a street fight last week.

Magistrate Michael Coghlan yesterday remanded Doolan to appear in court again this morning, pending police interviewing another man believed to be involved in the incident. The man was arrested yesterday.

Doolan is accused of chasing a man down a Robinvale street during a fight and wounding him over the head and on the elbow with a machete.

He allegedly became involved in a fight that started outside a Robinvale house where a group of people had been drinking.

Doolan denies being present for the attack. His partner of 24 years, Lala Pettit told the court he was at home with her the entire night.

However, Mildura police Detective Senior Constable John Coleman said the victim was “100 per cent sure” the man who attacked him with the knife was Doolan.

The victim told police his attacker had been wearing a black top with red markings and a motif on the front during the fight.

Sen-Constable Coleman said police found a 45-50cm knife on a bed at Doolan’s house, next to a bloodstained black top with a Guns ‘n’ Roses motif.

Sen-Constable Coleman told the court police’s efforts to interview witnesses in Robinvale on Wednesday were largely unsuccessful.

He  said he believed witnesses were “unco-operative” because they feared for their safety.

Doolan’s counsel Bert Hilton-Wood said the witnesses police had attempted to interview were all members of Robinvale’s Aboriginal community and that they may have refused to speak to police because they did not want to be involved or “might be anti-police”.

He said it was “pure speculation” to suggest they feared retribution.

Mr Hilton-Wood said Doolan had not committed any offences during the four days between his alleged involvement in the attack and his arrest and was not a flight risk, having lived in Robinvale all his life.

Doolan takes medication for severe lower back pain and his defence has argued he would not have been able to chase after the victim, as police have alleged.

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