Capricorn Correctional Centre at Etna Creek outside Rockhampton.
Capricorn Correctional Centre at Etna Creek outside Rockhampton. Chris Ison ROK190618cprison20

Bad blood spills in brutal prison yard bashing

EVEN before he stepped into the general population of the Capricornia Correctional Centre for his first day in prison, Aaron Coady feared crossing paths with his former brother-in-law Dale George Johnson.

There was bad blood between the men after a failed relationship between Mr Coady and his former wife culminated in both Gladstone men appearing in a summary hearing at Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday.

Appearing as a witness, Mr Coady described to police prosecutor Sergeant Darrell Dalton what happened on November 15, 2017 when the prison supervisor had assured him that his five block was very separate from seven block where Johnson resided.


ASSAULT VICTIM: Aaron Coady. Contributed

Inside the prison, Mr Coady was stranded in a common area waiting to be let into five block when the doors to seven block and eight block opened behind him and the prisoners poured out.

Mr Coady glimpsed his brother-in-law and looked away before hearing behind him, "I've got you now you little c--t" and turned around to see Johnson striding towards him.

He told Johnson, "why don't we wait 'til we get out and we'll sort it out" before turning away.

At that point Johnson allegedly started punching Mr Coady in the back of the head, cheek and jaw, before he blacked out and fell, doubled up on the ground.

Mr Coady was stretchered away, taken to the infirmary before being transferred to Rockhampton Hospital.

He was too afraid to report the incident to police until after his release from prison in December with Johnson arrested the following May.


PRISON ASSAULT: Dale Johnson was found guilty of an attack in prison on his former brother in-law.
PRISON ASSAULT: Dale Johnson was found guilty of an attack in prison on his former brother in-law. Contributed

Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charge of common assault with domestic violence.

Defence lawyer Scott Moon contended Mr Coady was bashed by another prisoner and accusing him of blaming Johnson because of the family feud - something Mr Coady strongly denied.

The subsequent Gladstone Police investigation found there was no CCTV footage and no correctional staff had seen the incident with questioning of the arresting officer revealing that no prisoners had been interviewed to provide eye-witness testimony.

With no other evidence to rely upon, Magistrate Cameron Press was forced to weigh up the credibility and reliability of the men's competing witness testimonies.

In the witness box, Johnson admitted he didn't like Mr Coady because of what he had done to his sister.

Mr Press didn't buy the account.

He found Mr Coady's account to show "no hallmarks of concoction", unlike Johnson's, which lacked detail on questioning.

The magistrate found Johnson guilty and sentenced him to 15 months jail, released immediately on parole given the five months served in pre-sentence custody.

Additional separate charges for breaching bail, driving unlicensed, obstructing police, drug possession, failing to dispose of a syringe and stealing incurred another three months imprisonment, to be served concurrently.