David Pirie leaving Brisbane Supreme Court. Picture: AAP/John Gass
David Pirie leaving Brisbane Supreme Court. Picture: AAP/John Gass

Magistrate’s husband ‘acted in self-defence’

A TOOWOOMBA magistrate has told a jury that on the night her husband is accused of assaulting a neighbour, he told her he had used a "shovel handle" to defend himself.

Catherine Pirie told the Brisbane District Court that on the evening of February 14 last year she was at her Tallai home, in the Gold Coast hinterland, but was not involved in the altercation.

Magistrate Catherine Pirie leaves the Brisbane Supreme Court after giving evidence in the case against her husband David Pirie.  Picture: AAP image, John Gass
Magistrate Catherine Pirie leaves the Brisbane Supreme Court after giving evidence in the case against her husband David Pirie. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

Mrs Pirie told the court that her husband David told her that neighbour Jennifer Toohey "had come into our property" and "went to attack him".

Mrs Pirie said she had been in her study working when the alleged assault occurred, but earlier in the evening she had heard a car drive into the next door neighbours' driveway with blaring music.

"I said to David: 'These people are just unbelievable'," Mrs Pirie said.

"He said something like: "It's the fat one; it's the fat one."

She said her husband referred to Jennifer Toohey as the fat neighbour, and the neighbours played an annoying song called Freaks by Timmy Trumpet "over and over again" from their cars, which was played to the jury.

Mr Pirie and the couple's son, Lachlan, are standing trial, co-charged with assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and in company.

Lachlan Pirie, then 18, is also charged with common assault, for allegedly throwing rocks at Mrs Toohey, with at least one rock hitting her in the head.

Mr Pirie, then 56, admits he hit Mrs Toohey with a "snake stick" once and punched her once in the side of the head, but said it was in self-defence because she was about to punch him and he feared a "mob" of others was in pursuit.

Mrs Pirie said she was concerned about the Toohey family of neighbours, because she overheard them "threaten" to kill each other or "bash" each other.

She said Shane Toohey "has tattoos all over him" and "he is emaciated" and used "vulgar language", and the neighbours' blaring music and abuse became worse after May 2015.

Mrs Pirie said in May 2015 her husband made a complaint to police about the behaviour of Jennifer and Shane Toohey, and also to the real estate agency used by their landlord.

In earlier evidence, Mr Pirie denied during cross-examination by prosecutor Christopher Cook that he felt he was "above the law" or that Mrs Toohey was "pleading" with him saying "no, no, no" when he hit her.

He said he could not recall hearing Mrs Toohey scream, but recalled yelling to his neighbours "Fat farm of Tallai" before the alleged assault.

Judge Deborah Richards had to ask Mr Pirie several times to stop interrupting Mr Cook and arguing with him during cross-examination.