Former councillor testifies in stalking trial
A FORMER Far Northern deputy mayor has detailed the "devastating" health impacts he has suffered after a couple allegedly sent private photographs of him to others on several occasions.
Tully newsagent Ricky Taylor, who was deputy mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council in 2016-17, testified in Cairns District Court on Thursday about the harm he suffered after Bingil Bay couple Steven Paul Toogood and Julianne Toogood allegedly stalked him between May and June in 2017.
Mr and Mrs Toogood, 55 and 59, respectively, have pleaded not guilty to one count each of unlawful stalking. Council members, local MPs, an Innisfail journalist and a Mission Beach real estate agent allegedly received the emails.
On Thursday, a screen divider was placed between the defendants in the dock and Mr Taylor in the witness box while he gave evidence.
Mr Taylor said that in January 2017, former mayor John Kremastos gave him an envelope containing the photos that left him "devastated".
"I was in a lot of shock, in a lot of anxiety," Mr Taylor said. "I was in a very dark place."
The court heard that the defendants then sent numerous emails to Mr Taylor and others containing the same photos later that year in a bid for the council to take action against what they believed was a breach of the council's code of conduct.
A council investigation cleared him of any wrongdoings in relation to the photos, which prompted the defendants to allegedly send the photos to more people.
Mr Taylor said he tried to live a normal life as more emails were sent, but they were just "compounding" and the circulation kept "widening and widening".
The court heard he told his wife and family about the photos the night before the Innisfail Advocate was set to run a story about the misconduct that the defendants alleged he had committed.
Mr Taylor said he had lost up to 10kg and suffered stress and anxiety and had suicidal thoughts.
During cross examinations, Joseph Jacobs, representing Mrs Toogood, questioned him repeatedly about whether he had engaged in personal misconduct that negatively impacted the council.
The trial before Judge Leanne Clare continues.
Originally published as Former councillor testifies in stalking trial