Content warning: this story contains details that may be distressing to some readers.

Please note, this story contains reference to someone who has died.

 

More than a year after the fatal prison bashing of an Indigenous man known as Mr Eades, five Hakea Prison inmates pleaded not guilty for his murder in the WA Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Brandon Shaquille Taylor, Shaun Kapene, Clinton Alan Penny, Cooper Clay, and Liam Christopher McGlade are accused of beating Mr Eades so savagely that prison medical staff needed towels to mop up the blood before they could see the extent of his injuries.

Mr Eades passed away in Royal Perth Hospital on March 11, 2019 after two weeks on life support.

State Prosecutor James Mactaggart alleged the attack on Mr Eades was carefully planned to take place during the dinner period when prison officers would be busy and other prisoners less able to interfere.

He said the victim, Mr Eades, was eating dinner in his cell on February 26 when six men with shirts around their faces and blue gloves on their hands entered his cell and “brutally bashed” him resulting in extensive internal and external injuries.

Mactaggart told the jury that before the assault, Taylor went into a cell shared by Kapene and a witness whose identity has been suppressed by the court, and told them they had to “earn their spot” in the Comanchero bikie gang.

The court heard that Taylor allegedly gave Kapene and the witness blue gloves to wear and instructed them to cover their faces. In the dining hall, Clay allegedly pointed out Mr Eades to the witness as the man they would assault.

It is alleged the six men then donned gloves and face coverings and entered Mr Eades’ cell where he was eating his dinner.

The prosecution told the court Taylor threw the first punch, beginning a flurry of blows described as “focussed, concentrated and powerful”.

Mactaggart said the violence of the attack escalated over the course of several minutes, culminating in Clay allegedly using a shelf as leverage and “double jumping” on Mr Eades’ head.

Other inmates witnessed the attack and called the guards. When medical help arrived, Mr Eades was lying in a pool of blood that spilled out into the corridor; blood that the prosecution said had to be mopped up with towels before the nurse could assess the extent of Mr Eades’ injuries.

Jonathan Davies, defence lawyer for Clinton Penny, denied his client was present in Mr Eades’ cell, saying any witness who places him there is of “such low moral worth that they’d lie to police”.

Davies aimed to cast doubt on forensic evidence, saying what the prosecution identifies as blood stains on a pair of sneakers owned by Penny could be the spaghetti bolognaise from that night’s dinner.

Defence lawyer for Taylor, Michael Tudori, did not deny his client was present in the cell but that he had no intention to cause bodily harm to death—only to “touch up” the deceased.

Simon Freitag, speaking for Liam McGlade, told the court there was little evidence of his client’s presence at the scene of the crime beyond one witness he characterised as “unreliable”.

The trial is set to run for 30 days and is being presided over by Justice Joseph McGrath.

By Sarah Smit