Threats blamed for failure to appear in court

A MEMBER of Launceston's criminal underworld failed to appear in court after being threatened with firearms en route, his lawyer has said.

Damien Wesley Marshall, 30, of Rocherlea, did appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday.

Marshall had pleaded guilty to nearly 40 charges ranging from unlicensed driving to possessing a loaded firearm in a public place.

Lawyer Evan Hughes said some of the offences stemmed from Marshall being "entwined" in a conflict with underworld drug figures.

In April 2013 Marshall was asleep at home when intruders walked in and shot him in the leg with a high-powered firearm, he said.

Those arrested over the incident were now blaming Marshall for their prosecution by police, and his safety was at risk, Mr Hughes said.

This had led to shots been fired outside his house and also at it.

Mr Hughes said Marshall had been driving to the Launceston Magistrates Court last November when a car drove up beside him and the occupants pointed firearms towards him.

As a result he did not attend court that day and was charged for non- appearance.

In a separate incident, police discovered a bulletproof vest in his home and he was subsequently charged.

"The reason he had it was out of fear for his safety and life," Mr Hughes said.

In another matter, Marshall was charged over firearms that Mr Hughes said were for his client's own protection.

Yesterday police prosecutor Mike Bonde went through the 38 charges faced by the defendant.

In November last year while he was on bail, police saw Marshall doing a large burnout in front of bystanders.

When police apprehended Marshall, he struggled violently and a number of men approached the officers carrying screwdrivers and tyre-irons, he said.

Nobody was hurt but police were forced to retreat and Marshall escaped.

Marshall disputed this version of events but pleaded guilty to escape.

Also in November police searched his Rocherlea residence and found an $8000 motorcycle and a trailer that had both been stolen from a Scottsdale property.

Police seized footage from seven CCTV cameras set up around the property.

Marshall said a friend had brought the stolen property to his home.

Mr Hughes said prison would have a harsher effect on Marshall than most inmates because of the high level of security he was being placed under.

Magistrate Simon Brown adjourned the matter for sentence on May 14.