Fraud trial told of brain injury

AN accused man may have been suffering very severe brain injury trauma when he allegedly defrauded the Motor Accident Insurance Board of more than $35,000, the Supreme Court in Launceston has heard.

Roger Edwin Fidler has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage and one count of attempting to do so between September 2009 and April 2011.

The court heard Mr Fidler was severely injured in a car accident on the West Tamar Highway in January 2009.

At the time he had been renovating an investment property at South Launceston.

Unable to continue with the work, owing to a broken leg and other injuries, Mr Fidler hired a builder.

He was then able to claim back 80 per cent of what he'd paid the builder from the MAIB.

Crown prosecutor Peter Sherriff has alleged that some of the money claimed by Mr Fidler was never paid to the builder.

Yesterday qualified builder Greg Newcom said he didn't receive the full amounts listed on the claim forms and tax invoices lodged with MAIB because some of the work was never done.

Under cross-examination he said the intention was always to carry out the work but this never occurred once an MAIB investigation began.

Defence witness Dr Mark Slatyer, medical director of the Brain Injury Clinic, said he began treating Mr Fidler in mid- 2011.

He diagnosed the defendant with a traumatic brain injury in the severe to very severe range.

Dr Slatyer said Mr Fidler would have had difficulty understanding and acting on documents such as MAIB forms.

Defence counsel Ken Stanton asked if his ability to accurately write things down would have been affected.

"Yes sir," Dr Slayter said.

Mr Fidler's wife Christine said her husband completely changed after the car crash and was incapable of carrying out simple jobs.

Mrs Fidler said the money not paid to Mr Newcom, because of work he had not completed, was put in a safe.

Under cross-examination she said her husband had partly organised the purchase of an old Jaguar car from overseas.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict later today.