AFL football star Liam Jurrah will face trial over charges relating to the alleged attack of his cousin with a machete and assault of other people in an incident near Alice Springs earlier this year.
Magistrate David Bamber accepted there was sufficient evidence the Melbourne Demons footballer assaulted four people, including his cousin Basil Jurrah, for the case to proceed to trial. He dismissed a charge against Jurrah of assaulting alleged victim Murray Woods.
The footballer and his two co-accused, Josiah Fry and Christopher Walker, will next appear before the Alice Springs Supreme Court on September 3. Counsel for Jurrah, John Tippett, QC, has said his client will plead not guilty at the September hearing.
It is expected Jurrah will appear at the hearing via video link.
“It would seem to me that there is clear evidence that the alleged victims other than Murray Woods were struck and received injuries and it would be open to a jury to find that they had been assaulted with the various weapons described,” Mr Bamber told the court.
Outside court Melbourne Demons football manager Josh Mahoney said that the club continued to support Jurrah and that the star had been well represented.
Outside court Mr Tippett said he thought his client was a target because he had a high public profile.
“I think it is the tall poppy syndrome and unfortunately my client is a victim of it,” Mr Tippett said.
He said the threshold of evidence needed at the preliminary hearing for the case to proceed to trial was so low it was bound to happen.
“My client is not guilty. He will be found not guilty,” Mr Tippett told reporters.
“He has a good case, but we move now from this jurisdiction into the Supreme Court where a trial will be held,” he said. Jurrah was bearing up well despite the strain, he said.
“For a person, any person in such a position, you would expect them to be in worse shape, but he is a tough guy,” Mr Tippett said. Under bail conditions Jurrah must return to Melbourne and not travel to the Northern Territory unless it is to appear in court.
“Liam will return to Melbourne as per his bail conditions, where he will continue his preparation and recovery from his ankle injury and hopefully resuming to play in the short term,” Mr Mahoney said.