OCTOBER 2006: Roma Courthouse, Roma. PicDoug/Parrington
OCTOBER 2006: Roma Courthouse, Roma. PicDoug/Parrington

Roma man convicted of choking ex-partner case delayed by a year

A Roma man will be held in custody for about 11 months before his case is heard in November, after a “disappointing” court sitting resulted in the defendant’s solicitor seeking an adjournment right at the last minute so his client can be assessed by a physiatrist.

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Joshua Luke Pope was transferred from a Brisbane jail to the Roma District Court dock for a 10 minute court sitting and faces one count of assault occasioning bodily harm and seven other offences, that were not mentioned.

LK Soldi on behalf of the Department of Prosecutions said Pope had been remanded in custody for both offences.

Pope who had his bail rejected by a Roma Magistrate in November last year, has previously spent time in jail for choking suffocation offences and stands trial after he allegedly attacked a man in broad daylight in the main street of Roma, then while realised on bail, allegedly chocked and suffocated his ex-partner.

In the Roma District Court on Tuesday, February 16, Barrister David Jones told Judge Michael Byrne QC the matter was listed for sentencing today, however for “numerous reasons” cannot proceed.

“After having conferred with Mr Pope, instructions mean he needs to be assessed by a physiatrist, at this point to see if he’s fit,” Mr Jones said.

Judge Bryne asked Mr Jones whether he meant fit for trial or at the time of alleged offences.

“Assaulting occasioning bodily offence,” Mr Jones replied.

“I won’t go into specifics, but there is something that doesn’t marry up with the footage.”

Later, Mr Jones said he was “uncomfortable” with the level of legal assistance his client had received up until this point.

“He had not been shown the statement of facts,” he said.

He also noted he had limited time over videolink to speak to his client and said there seems to be a difference of service provided for regional court sittings compared to the main areas of Queensland.

Judge Byrne said the courts will always attend to regional areas, however the unfortunate “glitch” in the court calendar meant Pope won’t be heard until November.

“As it turns out, we have convened the court by bringing myself and my associate from Brisbane, you and the prosecutor and her instructor are from out of town … it’s not entirely appropriate expenditure of resources, that needs to be justified,” Judge Byrne said.

“As it turns out, I’ve come out to Roma … it’s disappointing the arrangements were not fully made.

“You are counsel of experience and if you tell me you have a concern, that I accept wholeheartedly as does Ms Soldi.

“And a client for such serious alleged offending must have these matters investigated.

“Perhaps the irony, your client has been brought out from prison in a police van from Brisbane only for the matter to be adjourned … the irony is that he has to sit in the van all the way back to Brisbane for a five minute court appearance.”

The prosecutor said she found it unsatisfactory these issues were raised so late, but said it’s appropriate the matters are investigated.

Judge Bryne QC adjourned Pope’s matters until November this year.

The Western Star understands he will be held in the Roma watch-house until Friday before being transferred back to jail in Brisbane.

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