A jury has heard the original police interview where a man described a home invasion in which he was attacked with a machete and threatened with a gun.
The victim was 23 years old when two men entered the Chisholm apartment he shared with his mother on 7 July 2020, demanding his car keys, cash and a “hydro set-up”.
At the time, his mother and a friend were at the home having dinner when they heard knocking on the garage door just before 10 pm.
“I thought it was a neighbour asking for a cigarette, so I chose to ignore it,” the victim told police at the time.
He said the men began shouting threats so he went to see who was there. That’s when he claimed he was confronted by two men, one holding a handgun and the other armed with a machete.
As the men continued to make their demands, and the victim’s mother also entered the room, he said one man “swung his weapon at me”.
“I was just really flustered about what was going on because I was really scared,” he told police.
He said the men stole his safe from the garage before leaving, but it wasn’t long before they heard pounding on the front door.
The men entered, where one man grabbed the mother’s purse.
“I was putting a lot of my thought onto [the man with the gun] because I thought he was going to shoot my feet. He had it pointed at my feet,” the victim told police.
Shortly afterwards, he said he was attacked with the machete again.
However, he wasn’t aware he had actually been hit in the shoulder until after police and paramedics arrived.
“My finger went into a hole in my jacket,” he said.
“[As I took my clothes off], I realised I was cut open and bleeding.”
The men accused of the home invasion are James Gregory Elliott and Jackson Cory Allred. They have both pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and damage to property offences in the ACT Supreme Court.
In her opening submission on Tuesday (20 September), barrister Beth Morrisoe laid out what she thought would be the crux concern of the “circumstantial case”.
“The real issue I expect to arise is not whether or not the home invasion happened, but whether the jury is convinced beyond reasonable doubt it was committed by the men,” she said.
Ms Morrisoe told the jury they would hear from a number of witnesses, which included the victim’s friend, who had been making the trio a cheesecake in the apartment at the time.
“[He] went down with a large knife in his hand … said, ‘well, you f**ked my cheesecake. Game on’,” she said.
She described a white ute witnesses said they saw in the vicinity, which was allegedly later found outside a home where the accused were located.
Ms Morrisoe said police observed a “smear of blood” on Mr Elliott’s left hand, while they found the ute’s car keys in Mr Allred’s “clenched buttocks”.
“[The prosecution alleges Mr Allred] hid the keys because he knew they would implicate him in the home invasion,” she said.
She said police seized several items from the ute, including items allegedly stolen from the victim’s apartment, along with a gel blaster gun and machete.
Ms Morrisoe also outlined the jury would hear about DNA and fingerprint evidence which she said linked the two accused with the vehicle and the items found inside, and would be shown CCTV footage from outside the apartment which showed two men who “could be” the accused.
“You’ll need to consider how the various pieces of evidence fit together,” she told the jury.
In his opening remarks, Mr Elliott’s defence lawyer Duncan Berents said while it was not disputed that two men had entered the victim’s apartment and committed a “horrible” home invasion, it was disputed it was his client who was there.
He also highlighted that the Crown needed to prove it was a reasonable conclusion that Mr Elliott was there and that there was no other “rational hypothesis” for who else could have been there.
“I think this will be a key issue,” Mr Berents said.
He also said while he didn’t dispute Mr Elliott’s DNA was in the vehicle found by police, he told the jury Mr Elliott had prior access to it.
“I would ask you to question how and when that DNA ended up on those items,” Mr Berents said.
When questioned by the prosecutor, the victim said he did not recognise the men who invaded his home.
However, in the police interview and under cross-examination, he said he recognised the “eyes” of one of the men as a high school acquaintance but then told the prosecutor he had said this as a way to justify what had happened to him.
Mr Allred’s lawyer chose not to speak.
The prosecution’s evidence was expected to last until mid-next week.