Brothers Malcolm and Warren Mathers have been acquitted of all charges following a December 2016 incident at a Wagga pub that left one man dead.
Terry Wickey fell to the ground and died in the car park of the Ashmont Inn on December 3 following an alleged scuffle with the Mathers brothers.
Malcolm was charged with aggravated assault occasioning death, an alternative charge of assault occasioning death and affray, while Warren was only charged with affray.
During the trial, the crown accused Malcolm of delivering the fatal punch to Terry Wickey that knocked him to the ground and killed him.
However, at the close of a trial spanning more than a week, Wagga District Court Judge Gordon Lerve acquitted the pair of all charges.
While Judge Lerve said he believed Terry Wickey was struck, he said he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that either brother’s actions fulfilled the requirements of each charge.
“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the death of Terry Wickey was occasioned by being struck and falling to the ground,” Judge Lerve said.
“The events of the night of December 3, 2016, at the Ashmont Inn are confused and surrounded by a fog of alcohol.”
The judge went on to explain that there were multiple problems with the credibility of Terry’s cousin Leon Wickey, who was the only eye-witness to Malcolm striking Terry.
“It is obvious the version of events of Leon Wickey is at variance with the evidence of other witnesses,” he said.
“I simply cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt as to his accuracy and reliability.”
Judge Lerve said the trial was of a “most serious nature” and took a moment to address the large crowd watching from the public gallery and put a couple of matters on the record before handing down his verdict.
“This matter involves the death of a human being – it is always tragic when a human life is lost,” Judge Lerve said.
“The late Terry Wickey went out for a pleasant night at a local hotel, something which many Australians do every day of the week.
“I have noted that, every day the matter has been before the court, there have been a large number of the deceased’s family and friends in court.”
About 20 of Terry Wickey’s friends and family were in the courtroom, many breaking down in tears when the verdict was handed down.
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