Man accused of Pullen murder granted bail
A LOCKYER Valley man accused of the 2012 murder of North Mackay man Timothy John Pullen has been granted bail ahead of his trial after his mother posted a $175,000 surety to secure his release.
Stephen Dale Renwick, 39, was charged with Mr Pullen's murder earlier this month after one of his co-accused Keira Jeanette McKay, 27, gave a fifth statement to police - implicating him for the first time.
Mr Pullen, 34, who was on bail for drug trafficking charges at the time, is believed to have been murdered after being taken from his North Mackay unit on April 16, 2012.
It is understood Mr Pullen may have been targeted because of a $30,000 drug debt to the Odin Warriors.
His body has never been recovered.
During Renwick's bail application on Monday, Brisbane Supreme Court heard McKay changed her statement on the eve of her manslaughter sentence over her involvement in Mr Pullen's death.
McKay, along with her former lover Nicholas Voorwinden, 32, were subsequently sentenced in the Mackay Supreme Court to five years behind bars, but will be eligible to apply for parole after serving nine and 15 months respectively.
Defence barrister John Jacob told the court on Monday Renwick was initially charged with being an accessory after the fact and was only charged after McKay's new statement to police.
He claimed McKay changed her statement in order to receive a reduced sentence.
"She had made four previous statements to police and it was not until a fifth statement, on the eve of her sentencing, that she implicated my client for the first time," he said.
"The murder case against my client is not strong or overwhelming, in fact, it is particularly weak.
"He has been charged with murder based on the statement of a co-accused who received significant concessions at her sentencing hearing for doing so."
Crown prosecutor Jane Shaw said Renwick was an unacceptable risk of interfering with witnesses and was a flight risk given he was facing life behind bars if found guilty of murder.
She said there was evidence Renwick had communicated with other witnesses during the initial police investigation, but conceded there was no evidence he had threatened any of them.
"Renwick was subjected to covert surveillance where he was observed numerous times communicating with witnesses and his co-accused," she said.
"There are recordings of him discussing critical times central to the alleged murder.
"He also faces a mandatory life behind bars if found guilty of murder so there is the added risk that he will fail to appear."
Justice Peter Applegarth, in granting Renwick's application, said the murder case against Renwick was not particularly strong and questions would no doubt be raised about the validity and credibility of McKay's statement.
"What is remarkable is McKay's four earlier statements to police made no mention of Renwick," he said.
"Questions are raised as to why she waited until the eve of her own sentencing to disclose the information she did.
"The murder charge relies heavily on McKay's statement and I suspect there will be challenges to her evidence at any pre-trial hearing, and if accepted, also at trial."
Dysart man Benjamin Francis Graeme Oakley, 27, and Sunshine Coast man Zane Tray Lincoln, 36, have also been charged with Mr Pullen's murder, while North Queensland man Luke Shayne Kister, 36, has been charged with being an accessory after the fact because he allegedly helped dispose of Mr Pullen's body.
- APN NEWSDESK.