Accused 'a gambler, drug dealer'

A MAN accused of committing two murders 14 years apart was a gambler, cannabis dealer and owner of multiple firearms, the Supreme Court in Hobart has heard.

Former publican Dennis James Bowerman gave evidence yesterday at the murder trial of Kalangadoo man Stephen Roy Standage.

Mr Standage has pleaded not guilty to killing Ronald Frederick Jarvis, 37, in July 1992 or John Lewis Thorn, 59, in August 2006.

Mr Bowerman said he knew the accused and slain fisherman Ronald Jarvis.

The court heard while Mr Bowerman was publican at the St Helens Hotel, Mr Standage would visit several times a week and regularly place bets of more than $1000.

The court heard Mr Bowerman also bought large amounts of cannabis from Mr Standage two to three times a week.

Mr Bowerman gave evidence of overhearing "at least half a dozen" conversations between Mr Standage and Mr Jarvis at the hotel.

He told the court the two discussed a partnership of growing and selling cannabis.

"It was all centred around growing crops, growing marijuana," Mr Bowerman said.

Mr Bowerman gave evidence of seeing rifles hidden in a compound at Mr Standage's St Helens property and pistols inside the accused man's car.

"That was the sort of person he [Standage] was - he always let you know he could take care of himself," he said.

The witness also told the court of an exchange between himself and Mr Standage after the dead man's disappearance.

"He [Standage] told me he was concerned about being implicated in the murder of Mr Jarvis, and the fact his body was found near a crop they had," Mr Bowerman said.

The court heard of another conversation between the witness and accused in relation to Mr Jarvis's disappearance, in which Mr Standage said words to the effect: "If things have got to get done, they get done."

Under cross-examination, defence lawyers disputed much of the evidence given by the witness.

Mr Bowerman was asked several times about the truth of his testimony, including inconsistencies in his statements to police.

A list of his criminal convictions for dishonesty offences was read to the court, along with at least seven names he had been known by in the past.

Mr Bowerman denied ever going by the nickname "four-foot gangster".

He acknowledged having problems with the law in the past, but insisted he was telling the truth to the best of his recollection.

The trial continues today.