28 January 2022

Trio of teens accused of star picket stabbing on Australia Day

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

Three teenagers, aged 17, 18 and 19, have been charged with assaulting a man in Taylor. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A trio of teens is accused of attacking a man on Australia Day, beating him up and apparently stabbing him with a star picket in what a magistrate said was an alleged “ultra-violent way for no apparent reason”.

Eighteen-year-old Dylan James Summerell, 19-year-old Jayden Robert Caldwell and a 17-year-old boy have been charged.

Court documents say the man was in the garage of his north Canberra home in Taylor late on 26 January 2022 while his wife and their children were inside the house.

He said he heard a voice call out something like “hello” and opened his garage door to see three people outside, allegedly the three defendants. He said he recognised two of them as they knew his step-daughter.

The trio allegedly came into the garage and began making comments about his dirt bikes. The man said he believed they were trying to “stand over” him to take the bikes.

He was allegedly punched by the 17-year-old, but he chased them away after wielding a shifting spanner.

But, shortly afterwards, it’s alleged the trio returned to the home armed with blunt objects and attacked him in his driveway, hitting him over the head with an object, punching him in the face numerous times, kicking him in the head, stomping on him and stabbing him in the thigh.

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When the step-daughter tried to intervene, she allegedly pulled Mr Caldwell away while he was carrying a star picket.

Police arrived and the man was taken to Canberra Hospital. It was there he told police all three took turns assaulting him, but he believed it was Mr Caldwell who stabbed him in the thigh with the metal star picket.

The man was still being medically examined when the court documents were being written. At the time, his injuries included a laceration larger than 5 cm across his head, two puncture wounds to his thigh, a bloodied eyebrow and he had difficulty breathing.

Mr Summerell from Dunlop was granted bail when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (27 January), but Mr Caldwell was not. He was remanded in custody to his next date.

When applying for bail, the lawyers for both defendants argued the court documents describing the facts of the case and the role each defendant was alleged to have played in the attack were vague.

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Sam Lynch from the Aboriginal Legal Service said Mr Summerell lived at home with his family and had never been in custody before. The duty lawyer appearing for Mr Caldwell said he had previously worked as a farmhand and did not know the complainant.

Magistrate James Stewart said his “instinct” told him this case would take a long time to progress through the courts and that more charges would be laid over it.

Mr Summerell pleaded not guilty to his charge while Mr Caldwell did not enter a plea.

The former’s case was adjourned to 7 April, while the latter is next in court on 7 February.

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