Fugitive’s wife and mother accused of using secret code
UPDATE : THE wife of Markis Turner admitted she lied to the supreme court in 2016 about not knowing where he was and believing her husband was dead.
Magdalena Turner gave evidence via videolink today from Poland in the trial against her mother-in-law Elizabeth Anne Turner.
The 66 year old is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury over accusations she helped her son flee the country and then lied to the supreme court.
Magdalena Turner on Monday told Mackay District Court she had heard from her husband in December 2015, 21 months before he was arrested.
The court heard during a supreme court hearing on April 21, 2020 she had testified she did not know where her husband was and that she believed he had taken his own life.
She told the court she did not tell Mrs Turner her son's whereabouts until she had learned on his arrested on September 15, 2017.
Markis Turner was arrested in 2011 on serious cocaine importation, trafficking and possession charges, but disappeared from Australia in August 2015 ahead of his trial the following month.
Magdalena told the court she returned to Poland on July 22, 2015 and Mrs Turner had accompanied her at her request to help with her and Mr Turner's two children, who both have health impairments.
"She didn't want to go," Magdalena said.
"She did eventually but she did it just for (her) grandchildren."
Magdalena told the court she had wanted to leave her husband and not return because of his behaviour, but did not tell anyone of this plan.
She told the court he had been suicidal but she "didn't take it seriously".
When defence barrister Saul Holt, acting for Mrs Turner, asked about his treatment of his mother, Magdalena said "he was as nasty to her as he was to me".
Magdalena told the court she had filled out an application regarding the deregistration of a yacht named Shangri-La but could not remember signing the form.
She told the court learning about the yacht "was a big surprise to me" but Mr Turner had told her the vessel had been for her and the kids.
She said her husband had asked her if she knew anyone who could register the yacht in their name in Poland and she had organised it with one of her friends.
Magdalena told the court she knew the day her husband had been arrested because she had received an email from him, and afterwards she had phoned Mrs Turner with the news.
Magdalena told the court her husband had set up an email address for her to the pair could communicate.
A document tendered in court showed it was an encrypted email based in Switzerland.
Under questioning from Commonwealth prosecutor Ben Power, Magdalena said she had lied to the supreme court to protect herself and her children.
Mr Power commented the email between Magdalena and her husband appeared to be "affectionate" and she said yes.
She told the court she had thought it was unfair that her mother-in-law might lose the cash and $450,000 surety she had put up for bail "because my husband was irresponsible".
Mr Power also suggested Magdalena and Mrs Turner communicated about Mr Turner using "a code" - when the pair spoke about Madgalena's brother Piotr it was a code for Mr Turner.
"No … there's no secret codes … I'm not that cunning," she said.
Mr Power suggested Magdalena lied in the supreme court and was lying in the district court because as a Polish national she had no fear of perjury charges.
She denied the claims.
The trial continues.
INITIAL: THE mother of an accused cocaine smuggler-turned-fugitive has defended herself against claims she lied about having a mobile phone during a Western Australia trip at the same time her son went missing.
Mackay District Court heard the 66 year old had previously said she only made calls from a payphone as she did not take a mobile phone on the three-week holiday.
Elizabeth Anne Turner testified the trip had been her husband's spur-of-the-moment idea to see a bicentennial truck show in Western Australia and the couple had left in August 2015.
Her son Markis Turner, who was facing serious drug smuggling, trafficking and possession allegations, also went missing in August 2015 ahead of his Mackay Supreme Court trial the following month.
Mrs Turner has pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury over allegations she helped him escape on a yacht, which he sailed to the Philippines where he was arrested.
She gave evidence for about seven hours over two days of the trial.
A Telstra document tendered in court showed a SIM card registered under the name of Mrs Turner's deceased father had been activated on August 5, 2015 and was in use until at least February 2016.
The court heard the mobile had pinged at a number of phone towers including Bourke, Port Augusta, Cooper Pedy and Alice Springs, the same locations Mrs Turner and her husband visited during the trip.
During a supreme court hearing over the surety Mrs Turner put up to secure her son's bail following his 2011 arrest, she said she did not have a mobile phone during that trip.
Last week the court heard there had been an old phone in the centre console that she said her husband had used.
Under continued cross examination from Commonwealth prosecutor Ben Power, Mrs Turner said she had set the number and phone up for her mother, who was in a nursing home, but later learned her mother was not allowed to have a mobile phone.
Mrs Turner said she had a new SIM activated under her old number after her phone went missing, which she briefly put in her mother's phone towards the end of the trip, before placing it in a spare smartphone at her Mount Coolon property once she was home.
Mrs Turner said when she was questioned in the supreme court, she had been under the impression she was being asked if she personally had a phone.
Mr Power accused Mrs Turner of being "caught out in a lie" because she had taken a phone with her on the trip.
"If I'm lying I must be going around the twist," Mrs Turner said.
"No you're not going around the twist, you're just lying," Mr Power said.
Mr Power brought up that Mrs Turner had said "I didn't have a phone" in the supreme court when asked why she did not phone her son during the stop.
"If someone would have mentioned this old dodgy phone in the console," she said, adding again she had thought it had been about her personal phone.
Mr Power accused Mrs Turner of giving evidence in the supreme court that her son had acquired a shots firer licence in a bid to give the impression her son "had blown himself up", which she denied.
The trial continues.