By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A 25-year-old Narre Warren man accused of a roadside stabbing in Blind Bight and trafficking illicit mushrooms and cannabis has been granted bail.
Kerry Bender was driving a grey Nissan Pulsar erratically, swerving and overtaking at alternating speeds on the South Gippsland Highway on 20 July, according to his male victim.
The victim later saw Bender arguing with an unknown person while parked in a running lane on Baxter-Tooradin Road, Blind Bight, police told Dandenong Magistrates’ Court.
The victim approached Bender to placate him. The pair scuffled, in which Bender allegedly stabbed the victim twice in the upper abdomen and slashed his palm.
Bender fled from the scene in his car. The victim was transported to The Alfred hospital, requiring stitches for his wounds.
As a result, the victim, unable to perform lifting duties, was sacked from his new job, the court heard.
Later that morning, police raided Bender’s home, seizing four juvenile cannabis plants as well as bags of illicit mushrooms and cannabis from his bedroom.
The alleged stabbing weapon had not been recovered, nor had it been noticed by the victim during the fight, police told the court.
Police remand liaison officer Sgt Chris Marlow, in opposing bail, said that the wounds appeared to be caused by an “edged weapon”.
He said that Bender posed a risk to community safety from his apparent drug-impaired driving and use of a weapon.
The seized drugs were of a traffickable quantity on weight alone, he said.
Bender, who was remanded since the raid, told police that there was a fight between him and the victim but couldn’t remember stabbing him.
He smoked a large quantity of cannabis and extracted oil from the mushrooms for personal use. He gave cannabis to friends if they asked for it, he allegedly told police.
The court heard Bender suffered anxiety, depression, ADHD as well as an acquired brain injury.
Magistrate Tara Hartnett said the bail application was a “difficult case”, noting the serious and apparently unprovoked assault and concerns for public safety.
On the other hand was Bender’s youthfulness, supportive family and a lack of criminal history, as well as available supervision from the CISP bail program.
“The risk can be ameliorated by appropriate conditions.”
Bender was bailed to a fixed address on a night curfew and CISP monitoring. He was ordered not to leave Victoria or contact prosecution witnesses.
He was set to appear on bail at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 17 September.