The West

Farmer who shot man walks free
Lachlan Crowe leaves court. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian.

A 74-year-old farmer who shot a man at his Bakers Hill property has walked free after being found not guilty of Grievous Bodily Harm.

Mr Lachlan Crowe was emotional as he left the District Court today. When asked if he believed justice had been done, he said: "I hope so".

Mr Crowe shot Mr Jake Beau Bettridge with a .22 gauge Winchester rifle on April 21 last year.

He told police Mr Bettridge, 21, had turned up at the farm drunk and angry with another young man, Mr Arron Steven Humphries, following an earlier incident when he ran over Mr Humphries' dog on a deserted dirt track near the farm.

Mr Crowe told police, in a recorded interview which was played to the court on Wednesday that Mr Bettridge had been carrying a large, thin object and had yelled "I'm going to punch your lights out when at the property.

Mr Crowe said in the interview he had been frightened for his life, and had fired the gun just to "frighten (Mr Bettridge), to "put him off".

Defence Lawyer Seamus Rafferty argued Mr Crowe had fired in self defence.

Prosecution lawyer Hylton Quail told the court Mr Bettridge suffered nerve damage to his arm where the bullet struck, and had to undergo two surgeries.

It took a jury just half an hour to acquit Mr Crowe of the charge.

The West Australian

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