BANNED former greyhound trainer Tom Noble has been refused bail after it has been alleged that he intimidated a witness who appeared in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, providing another shocking turn of events in the live-baiting scandal which has rocked the greyhound racing industry to its core.
So far, 14 people have been arrested on 53 charges within Queensland following on from the saga, 37 of those charges relating to serious animal cruelty.
68-year-old Noble is said to have approached prominent owner and breeder Julie Edmondson following on from her court appearance.
Edmondson was facing the court on several animal cruelty charges that related to the use of live bait on her Marburg property, while she was also accused of taking her dogs to Tom Noble’s private trial track in October 2014 where it is alleged a pig was used as live bait.
Noble’s bail was objected by Prosecutor Sergeant Brad Dick who informed the Court that the disgraced trainer had approached Edmondson after seeing media reports pertaining to her court appearance on Wednesday, urging her to visit his solicitor to say that she was under duress and that she wanted to change her statement.
“Clearly this is an attempt to pervert the course of justice, to intimidate, to get the witness to change her story…these are very serious matters,” Dick said.
Magistrate Barry Cosgrove refused Noble’s bail after acknowledging that the alleged intimidation of witnesses was a serious offence and is a serious problem for courts.
Cosgrove suggested that if Noble were to receive bail in the future that it would be strictly conditional and include rules about who he could visit and under set conditions.
Noble’s solicitor has disputed the version of events put forward by the Police. He said that his client’s phone conversation has been misinterpreted and that he was trying to advise her to use the same lawyer as him because it was cheaper and was am attempt to provide comfort to the woman he claims to have known for up to 40 years.
Noble, who is being treated for non-aggressive lymphoma, is already facing court on a range of serious animal cruelty charges. His private trial track is at the centre of the live-baiting scandal in Queensland, with secret surveillance cameras set up on his property catching participants tying live animals to the lure to entice greyhounds to chase, catch and kill during trial sessions.
The footage was aired on the ABC’s Four Corners Program titled ‘Making A Killing’. He has since been warned-off for life by Racing Queensland for his involvement in the saga.
Noble is set to reappear in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on July 1.
Also making news in Queensland on Friday, the State Government has announced a Commission of Inquiry into the Queensland greyhound racing industry.
The Commission of Inquiry will replace the existing review which is already underway within the state and was established following on from the Four Corners program.
The review’s interim report was handed to the Minister for Sport and Racing on Friday.