DAY 3: Kenneth Douglas (left) leaves Gladstone Court House with his wife on Monday June 11.
DAY 3: Kenneth Douglas (left) leaves Gladstone Court House with his wife on Monday June 11. Andrew Thorpe

Ballistics expert testifies in third day of gunshots trial

JURORS at the trial of Kenneth Robert Douglas in Gladstone District Court were subjected to a lengthy session of forensic evidence yesterday as the prosecution wrapped up its case against him.

The Crown is accusing Douglas of firing a rifle shot near a woman so as to cause her alarm on the night of August 12, 2016, when he and his sons Jesse and Matthew travelled to a Diglum property to confront Mitchell Loader over a fridge and lost wages.

The night ended with the burning down of the Loaders' family farmhouse.

Mr Loader was not present during the incident, but his sister Amanda Loader was asleep with her partner in a caravan on the property at the time.

Douglas is also accused of damaging the caravan with a rifle shot on the same night.

Police ballistics expert Sergeant Michael Clarke, who examined a .22-calibre rifle and a .223 Remington stolen from the property by Kenneth and Jesse Douglas that night, gave evidence over the phone.

Sgt Clarke testified that a bullet found inside the caravan in question appeared to belong to a .22-calibre rim-fired rifle, and could not have been fired by a .223 Remington.


Gladstone Court House. Courthouse.
Gladstone Court House, Court 3. Matt Taylor

Ms Loader testified last week that she had seen Kenneth Douglas holding her brother Geoffrey's .22-calibre rifle that night, and she had seen Jesse Douglas holding the .223.

Sgt Clarke was also presented with a series of photos of a broken glass window on the side of the caravan.

He testified the breakage was consistent with the theory a bullet had been fired through the window at a left-to-right angle into the caravan, and said that would likely place the shooter somewhere at the rear of the Loaders' farmhouse.

Sergeant Natalie Abbott, who was led to the two stolen rifles in bushland at Bracewell two days after the incident by Jesse Douglas, also testified.

Under cross-examination, Sgt Abbott admitted no forensic evidence linked Kenneth Douglas to either rifle.


Gladstone Court House. Courthouse.
Gladstone Court House. Matt Taylor

However, further questioning from prosecutor Matt Le Grand revealed that, as was the case with two weapons left at the Diglum property, there was no forensic evidence linking the rifles to any individual.

The prosecution's final two witnesses were Geoffrey and Mitchell Loader.

Appearing by phone, both brothers denied defence barrister Scott Moon's suggestion the two rifles had been stored in Geoffrey's bedroom that night, instead of in a safe in a shipping container.

But Geoffrey admitted the keys to the safe on this occasion had been kept in his ute while he was away on a work trip, not inside the farmhouse as he had previously stated.

The trial is expected to resume today.

Click here to read The Observer's coverage of the following day of the trial.