27 October 2021

Man charged over Nimmitabel hit and run also faces prison 'jugging' trial

| Albert McKnight
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NSW Police released images of the Audi involved in the hit and run near Nimmitabel on 30 August 2021. Image: Screenshot.

One of the men allegedly involved in the hit and run near Nimmitabel in which a police officer was seriously injured also faces a trial over his alleged role in a prison bashing in which an inmate was hit with a television and had boiling water poured over him only a week after he entered prison.

Jaiden Dale Gardner, 26, from Yarralumla, was arrested last week along with two co-accused over their alleged involvement in the crash, and the co-accused were extradited to NSW to face their charges.

Gardner appeared via telephone in the ACT Supreme Court on Wednesday (27 October), where his bail for the charges relating to the prison bashing was revoked by Acting Justice Verity McWilliam. He was told he would remain in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) ahead of his trial.

Court documents show that on 28 March 2020, the soon-to-be victim returned to his cell in the AMC at about 5 pm, allegedly followed by Gardner and his co-accused for this matter, Trinity Cook.

Inside the cell, Gardner allegedly asked the man for a cigarette. As he reached for one, the two accused allegedly pulled a television off the wall and hit the man so hard over the head with it he was knocked unconscious.

The two accused then allegedly boiled a kettle of water in the cell and poured it over the man’s head, shoulders and back, in what is called a “jugging”.

The man was taken to Canberra Hospital, repeatedly saying, “I’m in so much pain, I’m in so much pain”.

He was flown to the burns unit in Sydney’s Concord Repatriation General Hospital the next day. He received burns to 13 per cent of his body, which required significant medical treatment, including skin grafts, and he has been left with permanent scarring.

In a phone call in April 2020, Gardner told a woman he was in segregation due to being accused of being behind the bashing, but claimed he was “innocent” and that the man had “kettle’d himself”.

“No-one knows who done this, so they’re pinning me for it,” he said.

Gardner and Cook are fighting charges of intentionally and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm, and the trial is planned to be held in the Supreme Court on 29 November.

He also appeared in the Magistrates Court last week with his co-accused for the hit and run, 30-year-old Stephen John McCracken from Coombs and 43-year-old Rebecca Jane Keys from O’Malley.

Court documents show that at about 8 pm on 30 August 2021, police learned a Toyota Land Cruiser ute had been stolen from Nimmitabel and was seen driving towards Cooma at high speeds along with a two-door sports car.

Two senior constables saw the ute, gave chase in their vehicle and tried to get it to stop, but it kept on going until near Tip Road when it stopped in the middle of the Monaro Highway.

Gardner is accused of jumping out of the ute, running towards a white Audi A5 that was driving towards him and, when it got close, he “furiously” banged on its window, the documents say.

The constables parked in front of the ute, then one got out to chase Gardner on foot.

Gardner allegedly got into the Audi, driven, police allege, by McCracken and with Ms Keys allegedly in the passenger seat.

READ ALSO Watch the CCTV vision released by police in hit and run investigation

As the constable stood on the road to attempt to stop them from getting away, the Audi allegedly accelerated towards then crashed into him.

He was carried about 50 metres along the highway on the car’s bonnet before being flung to the road and hitting his head.

The Audi didn’t stop and allegedly drove at high speed towards Cooma.

After being hit by the car, the constable spent eight days in hospital with multiple skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, broken ribs, bruising and prolonged memory loss.

McCracken and Ms Keys appeared in the Queanbeyan Local Court on Monday (25 October), where they did not apply for bail. It was formally refused, and they will reappear in court on 20 December.

All three have been charged with using an offensive weapon in company to prevent detention and failing to stop after a crash.

Original Article published by Albert McKnight on The RiotACT.

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