Home brew deaths accused pleads not guilty

A BALLANDEAN man charged with making "moonshine" which police claim led to the deaths of three men, including his son, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of manslaughter.

The charges against accused man William (Bill) Neil Clarence Lynam, 71, arise from the alleged incidents on the family's 75ha property at Ballandean south of Stanthorpe in June 2013.

Mr Lynam's son Joel, 21, and friends Vincent Summers, 21, and Bryan Wilmot, 30, died after allegedly drinking what police claim to be a methanol-laced drink during a gathering on the Puglisi Lane property.

Mr Lynam's other son Joshua is alleged to have suffered organ injury after drinking some of the brew and Mr Lynam has pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm in relation to him.

Opening the prosecution case, Senior Crown Consultant David Meredith told the jury the issue was whether the accused had been criminally negligent in making the brew and giving it to the men to drink.

Mr Meredith said Mr Lynam had a number of stills on the property which he described as "a mess".

Normally, oxidising the brew made a percentage of ethanol alcohol but the Crown alleged that the brew that the men had drunk had a high percentage of methanol which led to the deaths of the three men and the organ injury to Joshua Lynam.

Without medical treatment Joshua Lynam would  have died, Mr Meredith submitted.

It was the Crown case that Mr Lynam used industrial strength methanol normally used as a weed killer by mistake to make up the drink and by doing so he had been criminally negligent, he submitted.

It was not the case Mr Lynam had intended to harm anyone but it was a breach of his duty of care, he said.

That the three men died of methanol toxicity wasn't expected to be challenged, he said.

Neighbour Amber Gillies told the court she had expected all four men to attend her place for a birthday celebration on the Saturday, the day after they had allegedly consumed the brew outside a donger on the Lynam property.

She and a friend went over to the donger to find Joel, Joshua and Vincent chopping wood with Bryan Wilmot inside throwing up.

She took Bryan home and put him to bed but when he didn't get any better she arranged for him to be taken to the Stanthorpe Hospital that night.

He was later transferred to the Toowoomba Hospital.

She was made aware the next day that Joel Lynam had died at home.

The trial before Justice Ann Lyons continues tomorrow. 

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