West Launceston 'degrading' assault trial witness refuses to give evidence

A “degrading” assault trial has been disrupted by a witness’s refusal to give evidence.

Jason Edward Richards in on trial this week for his alleged role in an attack on a Launceston man in February 2014.

On what could have been the trial’s final day on Wednesday, however, a key witness and a co-accused in the matter refused to take the stand.

The jury heard on Thursday that the trial would take a different course instead, with much of the morning session comprising of legal discussion between defence lawyer Evan Hughes and prosecutor Peter Sherriff, without the jury present, to determine how next to proceed.

The jury will return again on Friday morning for what is expected to be the trial’s final day.

It is alleged that Mr Richards was one of three men who tied up and attacked a casual gardener in a West Launceston shed.

The jury has heard that the other two men threatened the victim in a number of ways, including through the use of a machete, chainsaw, shotgun and punches.

He was also made to wear sexually degrading clothing prior to the assaults.

It is alleged Mr Richards punched the victim once and helped tie the man to a wooden post.

Mr Richards denied the allegations in his interview with police in August 2014, and has continued to deny his involvement this week.