A DISPUTE between former Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard and his former Kingsley neighbour has been described in court today as “infantile, childish behaviour”.
Mr Pickard (46) maintained his not guilty plea to the charge of common assault, which was amended at Joondalup Magistrate’s Court today from the initial charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.
The incident on January 14, 2018, started with Mark Wild returning to his Dalmain Street home from a day out fishing with friends to find Mr Pickard had hosed dirt onto his driveway, alleging it went as far up as onto his bins and boat.
Insults and swearing were exchanged leading to a water fight along the boundary line of their properties.
However, the assault charge relates to Mr Pickard throwing a cup of coffee at Mr Wild’s face.
Mr Pickard and Mr Wild and their families had been neighbours for about nine years, both describing the relationship as amicable in the beginning.
However, this started to deteriorate in later years.
One suggested reason was the deterioration came after Mr Wild, who was the president of the WA Sky Pirates Paramotor Club, applied for his club to use Pinnaroo Point for take-off and landing, which was approved but Mr Pickard voted against the application.
Mr Wild also described Mr Pickard as “horrible” and a “stalker” who would harass and intimidate his family.
Mr Wild said when his family arrived home about 6pm on the Sunday evening, they saw dirt had been hosed onto their driveway from Mr Pickard’s property.
“It was clean before we left,” he said.
“I always leave my house clean.”
He said he could see his children and wife, Kylie, were upset and told them not to worry and he would clean it up.
His garden hose was not long enough so he got his high pressure hose and started to clean his driveway.
Mr Wild said Mr Pickard “danced” over to him “with a smile from ear to ear”.
“He put his shoes as close to the edge of my property as he could and looked at me with this smile and said, ‘Your driveway is pretty messy, Mark. Think you need to clean it’.”
Mr Wild said this rang “alarm bells” that Mr Pickard wanted Mr Wild “to do something” but Mr Wild took a deep breath and said ‘”f*** off Troy” and carried on cleaning.
Mr Wild said Mr Pickard continued to swear at him and his wife, with Mrs Wild asking why did Mr Pickard have to be an a***hole and what had they done to deserve this.
Mr Wild said he continued to clean the driveway, looking down because he did not want to “engage” with Mr Pickard, when his “face exploded in pain” and he “lost all vision”.
Mr Pickard had thrown coffee from a mug he was holding at Mr Wild.
Mr Wild said he was unable to see but he “wildly swung” the pressure hose “for about 10 seconds” in self-defence and until his wife steadied him and he could see again.
This is when Mr Pickard claimed Mr Wild “thrusted” the pressure hose up into Mr Pickard’s neck, leaving a red mark.
“Troy was laughing and pointed at his neck saying, “I finally got you. That’s assault. You’re going to jail. Don’t you know who I am?’,” Mr Wild said.
“I said, ‘You attacked us’ and told my wife to call the police, which she did.”
Mr Pickard said he did tell Mr Wild he had been assaulted and it was “a stupid thing to do” but the rest of the accusation was not true.
Mr Wild said they both walked away for a moment before Mr Wild continued to clean his driveway, hosing the dirt back onto Mr Pickard’s property.
He said Mr Pickard returned with his garden hose and the water fight began.
“I felt like he wanted me to chase him,” Mr Wild said.
“I was agitated, at breaking point. I’d never felt that way before.”
Mr Wild said Mr Pickard then put his hose in his face, causing Mr Wild to swing his pressure hose “wand” “to keep him out of his face”.
At this time, Mr Pickard alleged Mr Wild hit him two more times with the hose – on the arm and back of the neck.
He said while at the time he did not know he had been hit, maybe because of the adrenaline, he found the marks the next day.
However, both Mr and Mrs Wild said they believed the hose only hit Mr Pickard once and that was just after he threw the coffee.
While Mr Pickard admitted to hosing dirt onto Mr Wild’s driveway, he said about 90-95 per cent did go onto the road.
He said his house was going up for sale so he had been spent the day cleaning the outside ready for photos on the Monday.
He said Mr Wild had been “vexatious” to him in the past so he was “wary” of going onto his property to hose the dirt away, and that heavy rain had been forecast for that evening so he thought he would “let nature take its course”.
He said though the rain did not fall that evening, it did the following evening with 138.6mm of rain recorded.
The court saw CCTV footage of the incident recorded by a camera outside Mr Wild’s home.
However, the vision of the assault was obstructed by Mr Wild’s boat, making it difficult to know exactly what happened.
While Mr Wild said Mr Pickard threw the coffee while he was looking down and cleaning, Mr Pickard alleges Mr Wild “motioned as if to strike” his hose at Mr Pickard first and it was a “natural instinct” to flick the coffee at him.
“It all happened very quickly but I distinctly remember being sprayed in the face and I instinctly flicked the coffee in his direction,” Mr Pickard said.
“I couldn’t see, I had a sea of water in my face.”
Yet the police prosecution argued that Mr Wild’s hose was pointed at the ground in the seconds leading up to when the coffee was thrown and he would not have had time to point the hose at Mr Pickard.
Mr Pickard also said the coffee had been made at least 20 minutes before the incident so would only have been “lukewarm”.
However, Mr Wild said he measured where the coffee landed on his driveway and it was 6.6m from the boundary, suggesting Mr Pickard would have thrown it with force.
Mr Wild said he was in pain after being hit with the coffee and he had to wipe his eyes on his sleeve to regain vision.
Though this cannot be seen in the CCTV footage, Mr Wild showed on the screen the marks on his sleeve from wiping his eyes.
However, when asked if she saw Mr Wild wipe his eyes, Mrs Wild said she did not, and she did not hear her husband scream in pain.
Mr Pickard’s lawyer Terry Dobson also pointed out Mr Wild was wearing a hat with a brim so if he was looking down, his eyes would be covered.
Mr Wild said when he woke up the next morning his eyes were “sticky and gluggy” and he had a “huge headache”.
He was advised to go to Joondalup Health Campus where he said he was given local aesthetic in both eyes to relieve the pain.
Mr Dobson said Mr Wild was “exaggerating” many aspects including how much dirt there was and where it reached, and the pain the coffee caused.
He questioned on several occasions why Mr Wild did not just go inside, particularly when the situation was “escalating”.
“I never leave my house messy,” Mr Wild said.
“I’m a proud person.”
Mr Dobson also asked several times if the incident made Mr Wild angry and each time he said no, but he was upset.
Mr Dobson questioned how anyone could not be angry in this situation, especially if he thought Mr Pickard had sprayed the dirt on his driveway intentionally to annoy him.
He also questioned why Mr Wild hadn’t reported some of the significant swearing in his statement to police.
Mr Wild said Mr Pickard “used the C word so much it was just noise”.
Mr Dobson also questioned Mr Wild’s dealings with Channel 7 after a cheque to Mr Wild for $250 was accidentally sent to Mr Pickard.
He said he believed selling the story to the media was Mr Wild’s way of “getting back” at Mr Pickard.
Mr Wild said after Channel 9 aired the story first, Channel 7 contacted him for a statement.
He said he gave a statement then Channel 7 offered to pay him.
“I thought if they want to pay me then they can,” Mr Wild said.
Both the police prosecutor and Mr Dobson agreed this was a case of “both men behaving badly”.
Magistrate Jennifer Hawkins said she would need to watch the CCTV carefully, with both sides urging she watch the incident frame by frame.
She said she also wanted to look over the transcript for the day’s court proceedings.
In closing, the prosecution said everything that happened after the coffee was thrown was “entirely irrelevant”.
“Mr Wild is not on trial,” he said.
“The alleged assault is the coffee.
“The crucial and determining parts are the lead up to the coffee throwing.”
However, Mr Dobson disagreed saying what happened after was relevant because it showed Mr Wild was embellishing and exaggerating.
The prosecution said Mr Pickard started the situation and the idea that Mr Pickard threw the coffee in self-defence was not feasible.
“There are no reasonable grounds for Mr Pickard to believe he was about to be assaulted if Mr Wild was pointing the hose down,” the prosecution said.
He said Mr Wild showed “great restraint” given Mr Pickard’s “provocative” comments.
Ms Hawkins said Mr Pickard’s actions of deliberately not hosing the dirt off Mr Wild’s driveway was “without a shadow of a doubt not neighbourly behaviour”.
Ms Hawkins said she would deliver a decision on April 8.
Mr Pickard’s bail conditions will be extended until then.
Outside the court, Mr Pickard said he was looking forward to returning next month to hear the verdict.
“I can’t comment anymore out of respect for the process but I will absolutely have lots to say once a determination has been handed down,” he said.
Also outside court, Mr Wild said he would not comment before the magistrate had made her decision but he “felt fairly confident”.