Ex-cop's challenge fails, case committed for trial
A TECHNICALITY was almost the undoing of the criminal case against a former Warwick policeman, but a magistrate has ultimately ordered that the charge against the ex-cop will move forward to trial.
After committal proceedings that lasted one-and-a-half days, Ben Alexander Ephraim Dyball was ordered to face a trial for one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The charge stems from a complaint from a current Queensland Police officer, Inspector Andrew Smith.
Crown prosecutor Sophie Harburg told the court on Wednesday the alleged offences related to various Twitter posts, which included using the inspector's initials to instead spell out "arse c--- Smith", images of dead people and referencing his police ID number.
In closing his case at Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday, Mr Dyball, 51, claimed there was no case to answer.
As the precise charge noted, the alleged offence occurred at Elbow Valley in the state of Queensland, Mr Dyball said there was no evidence that he was in Elbow Valley, or Queensland, during the proposed timeframe in April 2016.
"Proving the element of Elbow Valley is not tenuous, weak or vague - it's zero," Mr Dyball said.
"The onus is on the Crown to prove all the elements to the required standard. A jury properly advised would be unable to convict."
In response, Ms Harburg argued the location was not an essential element of the offence and the charge could be amended to include the words "and elsewhere" to clear it up.
But regardless, Ms Harburg said Inspector Smith was the recipient of the posts and was in Queensland when he viewed them.
Magistrate Andrew Cridland was concerned it would not be fair to Mr Dyball to amend the charge when he had already questioned both witnesses and they'd been excused from the court.
Mr Cridland took just under two hours to consider his decision.
He reasoned that the charge should be amended and given the evidence before the court, Mr Dyball, who represented himself in court, did have a case to answer.
"I am satisfied on the evidence I have before me that the evidence is sufficient to put you on trial for an indictable offence," Mr Cridland said.
Mr Dyball was released on bail but his trial date has not yet been set.