Former bikie found not guilty on robbery, fraud charges
LATEST: A big smile cracked across former bikie Walter Robert Wintle's face as a juror read out the not guilty verdict for a charge of robbing a man of a BMW sedan.
His shoulders relaxed and he gave his defence barrister Simon Lewis a shakas hand gesture (clenched fist with thumb and pinkie extended) after hearing the words "not guilty".
It took the 12 members of the jury about an hour to reach the verdict in Maroochydore District Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Lewis had told them while summing up the defence case that they needed to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Wintle had forced Mr Perry to sign the car over to him on December 3, 2014.
"Probably doesn't cut it," Mr Lewis said.
He referred to the threats Mr Perry told the court about and how Mr Perry had alleged Mr Wintle used the term "jacks" when talking about police.
It was a term Mr Wintle denied hearing before, let alone using.
"It has a touch of Hollywood about it, the same as most of what Mr Perry had to tell you," Mr Lewis said.
He also referred to Mr Wintle's conduct after acquiring the car.
Mr Wintle had driven the car to destinations including Brisbane, Byron Bay and Toowoomba in the 12 days before he used his own identification to sell it to a Brisbane car dealer.
He had not changed the plates and had transferred it into his own name.
"Is that the conduct of a man who is driving around in a car that he believes he is not entitled to be? No."
Mr Lewis said Mr Perry had to make a complaint to police about the incident so he could make a $24,000 insurance claim on the vehicle.
Crown prosecutor Alex Stark urged jurors to reject Mr Wintle's evidence that he had not threatened Mr Perry.
Mr Stark said it was implausible that Mr Perry would go from $20,000 asking price to $6,500 Wintle claimed he paid in cash.
He said Mr Perry had decided to take action against Mr Wintle after finding out Mr Wintle had no real association with the Rebels motor cycle club.
But it was not enough to convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt.
Mr Wintle held hands with his ex-partner Jessica Whaley as he left court.
He didn't say much to reporters other than that he was happy with the outcome of the trial.
Wintle was also found not guilty of fraud, in relation to selling the vehicle to a Brisbane dealer 12 days after he acquired it from Mr Perry.
EARLIER: Robbery accused Walter Robert Wintle at times seemed frustrated by questions about problems with a car he allegedly stole from a Sunshine Coast tattooist.
Mr Wintle, 40, took the stand in Maroochydore District Court on Wednesday morning where crown prosecutor Alex Stark continued a cross-examination that began on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Stark repeatedly referred to a radiator hose issue with the car after Mr Wintle had said it was a radiator cap issue.
It eventually prompted a short outburst from Mr Wintle.
"Stop asking about the radiator hose, it's not a hose," Mr Wintle said.
The court heard Mr Wintle had driven the car to Byron Bay, Brisbane and Toowoomba in the days after acquiring it from Marcoola tattooist Steven Perry on December 3, 2014.
The car was sold to a Brisbane dealer 12 days later.
Mr Wintle said he thought the car had a head gasket problem so he put stop-leak additive into the radiator until he could sell the vehicle.
He denied statements by Mr Stark that he had forced Mr Perry to give him the car and threatened to kill him if he went to the police.
"It's all a lie," Mr Wintle said.
Mr Wintle's ex-partner also briefly gave evidence and was cross-examined by Mr Stark.
She said the alleged incident had caused their relationship to break down.
She recalled loaning Mr Wintle $3000 to buy the car and that he had repaid the money at a later date.