News

Court hears Oberin deny shooting Cohuna man

By Ivy Jensen

DANIEL Oberin charged over the shooting murder of a man in Cohuna has distanced himself from his co-accused at a court hearing on Wednesday.

During the committal mention at Bendigo Magistrates Court, magistrate Patrick Southey questioned Oberin’s solicitor Paul Galbally.

“So your client says Mr (Kevin) Johnson had a spur of the moment frolic on his own,” Mr Southey asked.

“Yes,” Mr Galbally replied.

Johnson, 34, and Oberin, 28, are both charged with the murder of Matt Alexander, 29, on September 23.

Prosecutor Adrian Brennan told the court both men went to Mr Alexander’s home armed.

During a discussion over whether there was “bad blood” between Oberin and Mr Alexander, Mr Galbally said there was no real evidence to suggest this.

Both men appeared via videolink from Melbourne Metropolitan Remand Centre.

They were both remanded to reappear in the same court on August 18 for a four-day committal hearing.

Johnson appeared first, dressed in a white shirt, and although he did not speak during the five-minute hearing, he occasionally nodded in agreement with discussions between Mr Southey and his legal representative, barrister Grace Morgan.

Oberin appeared on screen at 11.30am, dressed in a dark grey suit and blue tie.

During his 20-minute hearing, police withdrew a couple of witnesses.

When the magistrate asked Oberin, who had sat silent and stony faced throughout, if he had any questions he replied: “No, that’s it”.

The father-of-two was gunned down outside his home in Dalton’s Bridge early on September 13.

A crime scene was established at the Eastons Rd property after Mr Alexander was found with life-threatening injuries outside his property shortly after 6am. He died there from his wounds before he could be transferred to hospital.

The killing shocked the small farming community, which was thrust into the spotlight as homicide detectives, uniformed police and specialist units poured into the town, spending days scouring the area for forensic evidence.

In police’s request for a warrant, it stated Johnson was “aware he is wanted in relation to the murder and is avoiding apprehension”.

During Johnson’s filing hearing on October 9, Echuca Magistrates’ Court was told he was possibly withdrawing from drugs and this was his first time in custody.

Oberin’s filing hearing was even more brief, with no application made for bail before he was remanded in custody to appear at Bendigo Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

At a committal hearing, a magistrate considers the prosecution case against the accused and makes an assessment as to whether there is sufficient evidence for a jury to find them guilty.