West Launceston garage assault accused found not guilty

A MAN accused of being involved in a sickening assault has been found not guilty.

Jason Edward Richards was cleared of all wrongdoing in relation to the assault of a man in a West Launceston garage in February 2014.

He was charged with assault and aggravated assault.

It had been alleged Mr Richards was one of three men who lured, tied up and tortured the man over the course of a night, in an attack his own lawyer had described as “degrading and humiliating”.

Two of the men used a number of weapons to hurt and intimidate the man, including a shotgun, chainsaw and a machete.

Despite admitting to witnessing part of the assaults against the man, the jury ruled there was not enough evidence to convict in the Launceston Supreme Court on Monday afternoon.

The verdict followed a week-long trial that heard evidence from the victim, his associates, police and doctors.

The trial was expected to hear evidence from one of Mr Richard’s co-accused Mark Phillips, but he refused.

It can now be revealed that Phillips had pleaded guilty to assault charges stemming from the incident and was sentenced to prison.

The third man involved, Adam Maxwell Cox, was found guilty and was jailed.

In court last week, Mr Richards’s lawyer Evan Hughes had told the jury that his client was an innocent bystander.

He said Mr Richards had arrived at the West Launceston address on the night of February 4 to drink with Mr Phillips and Mr Cox.

He said what happened next left Mr Richards feeling uncomfortable, but said he did not have the courage to stand up to the others, in fear of being tied up next to the victim.