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

COURT: Defence lawyer tests key testimony in gunshots trial

THE trial of Kenneth Robert Douglas continued yesterday, with Amanda Loader and Zachary Moore being cross-examined in Gladstone District Court.

Douglas pleaded not guilty on Thursday to damaging Ms Loader's caravan with a rifle shot on the night of August 12, 2016, the same night on which his son Jesse Douglas burnt down Ms Loader's father's farmhouse over a dispute about a fridge and lost wages.

He also pleaded not guilty to firing a rifle shot in Ms Loader's direction to cause her alarm.

Ms Loader yesterday testified that on that night she and Mr Moore, her partner, had been asleep in a caravan near the farmhouse when they were woken by noise in the building.

She said that as she put on clothes to follow Mr Moore out of the caravan to see what was going on, something caused the caravan's window to break.

She and Mr Moore were then spoken to by Douglas's son Matthew at the fence-line.

As they spoke to Matthew, Ms Loader said she could see Kenneth Douglas in the doorway of the house holding a rifle, which she recognised as one of her brother's .22-calibre rifle due to the brown stock, gold scope and shoulder strap.

She also testified she could see Jesse Douglas moving in and around the house holding another of her brother's rifles, a .223 Remington, which she recognised due to its black stock, large scope and silver barrel.


KEY WITNESS: Amanda Loader leaves Gladstone Court House on Friday June 8 2018.
KEY WITNESS: Amanda Loader leaves Gladstone Court House on Friday June 8 2018. Andrew Thorpe

Much of yesterday's proceedings were devoted to determining who could see what during the incident, with both sides repeatedly referring to a diagram of the scene drawn for the police by Ms Loader.

Representing Douglas, barrister Scott Moon put it to Ms Loader that it was in fact Kenneth's son Jesse she had seen holding a rifle in the doorway, and it was also Jesse who had confronted her a short while later when she said a warning shot had been fired near her.

Mr Moon suggested a light on the side of the house, which faced out into the yard, had in fact obscured Ms Loader's view of the man in the doorway, rather than illuminating him.

He suggested the same later occurred with the bright headlights and spotlights mounted on the Douglases' vehicle.

Ms Loader insisted she was not blinded by either light and she had clearly been able to identify Kenneth in both cases.

"I know it was Ken... they're quite different in looks and builds," she said.


ON TRIAL: Kenneth Robert Douglas (right) leaves court with his wife on Friday June 8 2018.
ON TRIAL: Kenneth Robert Douglas (right) leaves court with his wife on Friday June 8 2018. Andrew Thorpe

Ms Loader also testified she could easily distinguish between the two weapons in question because of their colours and her familiarity with the weapons, and could also tell the sound of a .22 shot from a .223.

But under cross-examination, Mr Moore said he had not been able to make out the face of the man in the doorway.

He agreed with Mr Moon that the bright lights shining in his direction meant the man he saw could be described as a silhouette.

But he insisted the man's large build and deep voice made him seem older, in his mid-to-late-40s, than the man they were speaking to at the fence-line.

Issues also raised in court yesterday included who knew the location of a key to a shipping container in which the rifles were usually kept, and whether a cupboard door in the caravan was likely to be open or closed when the first shot was fired.

The trial is set to resume on Monday.

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