Markis Turner bought boat part ‘months’ before absconding
UPDATE 5.45PM: THE owner of a spare parts business told a Mackay jury he sold a starter motor for a boat engine to Markis Turner “months” before he found out the fugitive had disappeared.
Geoffrey Walsh, semi-retired owner of GW Industrial, said he had dealings with Mr Turner for years.
Mackay District Court heard in 2015 Mr Walsh saw a report in the Daily Mercury that Mr Turner was missing and the Australian Federal Police later spoke to him about when he had last seen Mr Turner.
Mr Walsh said he told an AFP agent Mr Turner had come into his shop “looking to buy a starter motor” and he believed it was “months” before he went missing.
“I don’t think it was years,” Mr Walsh told the court.
The court heard Mr Turner had brought in a specific type of starter motor he wanted to replace.
Mr Walsh said judging by the amount of rust on the starter motor Mr Turner brought in, he believed it had been taken off a boat. This was confirmed.
The court heard Mr Turner asked for the invoice to be made out to the Mount Coolon Hotel, a business his parents Elizabeth and Darryl Turner owned.
Mrs Turner is charged with helping her son flee the country ahead of his drug smuggling and trafficking trial and lying to the supreme court about his whereabouts.
She has pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury.
Former Outback Marine Australia support engineer Jack Peters gave evidence about the purchase of a “next step 2 regulator”.
Mr Peters said it was an electric device that improved the charging capabilities of deep cycle batteries in an inboard engine on a boat.
Mr Peters told the court paperwork showed the item was invoiced and shipped to a “Liz Turner” at 38 Loudin St in Mackay.
The trial continues tomorrow.
UPDATE 2.30PM: MARKIS Turner told the owner of a Mackay boat yard hosting the Shangri-La that his parents were “keen sailors”.
Mackay District Court heard, after buying the boat in Cairns in July 2013, the vessel remained there for a time before it was sailed to and berthed at Mackay Marina for about three days in August 2014.
The 36ft (11m) yacht was then moved to Palm St Boatyard at Cremorne where Mr Turner paid an initial $800 cash for haul out fees and three months rent.
In August 2015 Mr Turner fled the country, sailing to the Philippines where he was arrested in 2017, and prosecutors alleged he did so with his mother’s help.
Elizabeth Anne Turner has pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and three counts of giving false testimony in the supreme court.
The jury viewed a document, signed by Mrs Turner, about the boat being berthed at Mackay Marina.
Crown prosecutor Ben Power, acting for the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions, also led evidence about paperwork and email trails between Barbara Hill, who owned the boatyard with her husband Warren, and Mrs Turner.
The court heard multiple invoices were sent to “Liz and Darryl” via Turnerholdings@gmail.com as well as correspondence with “Liz” in relation to tide times for when the boat could be put in the water.
Mrs Hill told the court she had no recollection of directly speaking to Liz or Mr Turner.
Under questioning from Brisbane barrister Saul Holt, who represents Mrs Turner, Mrs Hill said she assumed Liz and Darryl owned the Shangri-La “because that’s what Markis told Warren”.
Mr Hill, who also gave evidence today, said during a conversation with Mr Turner about the Shangri-La, the latter “said his mum and dad were fairly keen sailors”.
Mr Hill said he met Mrs Turner on a couple of occasions when she came to the boatyard.
The court heard while in the boatyard maintenance was done on the Shangri-La by Mr Turner and someone he identified as his cousin.
Under questioning from Mr Holt, Mr Hill agreed when the yacht came into the boatyard in August 2014, Mr Turner gave them the email and the names “Liz and Darryl”.
The court heard the Shangri-La left the boatyard on June 15, 2015.
UPDATE 12.30PM: ON JULY 17, 2013 sailor John Neller sold his boat the Shangri-La to a man calling himself “Matt” and his mother Elizabeth Turner.
Mr Neller today gave evidence in Mackay District Court “Matt” – alleged to be Markis Scott Turner – told him his parents were buying the yacht and “he was like the middleman between us”.
“For a long distance voyager the Shangri-La was the perfect boat,” Mr Neller said.
He told the court it was a “bluewater yacht” that could sail “anywhere in any ocean around the world”.
Mr Neller said he and “Matt” met three times during the sale of the boat at Yorkeys Knob marina – when he first examined the boat, when Mrs Turner handed over the money and when he took him sailing after the purchase.
The pair had also exchanged emails with Mr Neller contacting “Matt” via the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Neller said in his opinion “Matt” had “close to non-existent” boating knowledge and experience.
“He probably knew which was the pointy end but didn’t know the correct terminology,” Mr Neller said.
The court heard the yacht was purchased for $75,000 – $63,000 in cash and a $12,000 bank cheque paid for by Mrs Turner.
Mr Neller told the court when Mrs Turner visited the boat with her son, he believed she had been interested in “comfort” levels rather than technical details about the vessel.
It is alleged Mrs Turner helped her son skip the country by sailing out of Queensland waters in August 2015 on the Shangri-La to avoid his supreme court drug smuggling trial.
Mrs Turner has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury – she claims she had no knowledge of her son’s plan.
Mr Turner was arrested in the Philippines in 2017 where he remains awaiting extradition.
The jury also heard evidence a man calling himself “Matt Roxy” spoke with insurance company Youi about insuring a boat named the Shangri-La for $80,000.
Two phone calls were played in Mackay District Court this morning in relation to this application.
The man named Matt – alleged to be Mr Turner – said the boat had been purchased for his parents for $75,000 but “mum and dad went and bought a dingy and outboard” and fixed rail for about $5000.
The court heard email communication in relation to this matter were sent to email@example.com
Witness Paul Grant, deputy registrar of ships for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, was recalled this morning to give further evidence about the term “broken up”.
The court yesterday heard Mrs Turner had allegedly filed paperwork with AMSA to cancel the Shangri-La’s registration with the reason cited as “broken up”.
Her lawyers claim her signature was faked.
Mr Grant told the court the term “broken up” was used in the maritime industry to indicate a vessel had been stripped for parts and broken up for scrap.
The trial continues.
INITIAL: EVIDENCE about the boat, at one point known as the Shangri-La and used by Markis Scott Turner to abscond from Australia, will feature on day two of the trial against his mother.
Elizabeth Anne Turner has pleaded not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and three counts of perjury over allegations she helped her son flee the country and then lied to the supreme court.
Mackay District Court heard there was a lot of information “not in dispute” in this trial including factual material, document and chronology.
One witness expected to give evidence today is the former owner of the Shangri-La who allegedly sold the boat to Mr Turner and his mother in Cairns.
Crown prosecutor Ben Power, for the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions, said John Neller would tell the court he had contact with someone named “Matt” – said to be Mr Turner – in 2013 who told him the yacht was being purchased for his parents.
The court heard a $75,000 price was reached and Mrs Turner turned up in Cairns with $62,000 in cash and a $13,000 bank cheque and bought the boat.
Yesterday Mrs Turner’s barrister, Saul Holt QC, said his client had no knowledge of and no involvement in her son’s plan to escape the country ahead of his cocaine smuggling trial.
She claims her son fled the country using her name, her money and did so making it look like she and her husband were involved.
Mr Power said once the boat was bought in Cairns it was berthed at Mackay Marina and there was a document bearing Mrs Turner’s signature.
Yesterday the jury was told about a document, allegedly signed by Mrs Turner and witnessed by her son’s wife, requesting its registration be cancelled because the vessel was “broken up”.
The court heard the boat was later re-registered in Poland and at a later point sold to a Filipino in the Philippines.
Mr Holt told the jury that while the case may heavily rely on documents, not all were what they appeared to be at face value.
“They were created by Markis Turner for the very purpose of avoiding him looking like he was responsible,” Mr Holt said.
The court heard at one point the Shangri-La was on a hard stand at Palm St boatyard in Mackay.
Owners Warren and Barbara Hill were also expected to give evidence today.
Mr Power said Mr Hill would give evidence he met Mrs Turner when she was at the boatyard inspecting the yacht, while Mrs Hill would tell the court that invoices were sent to Darryl and Liz Turner.
The court heard Mr Hill would also tell how Mr Turner and another man “did considerable work on fitting up the boat”.
“And then on June 1, 2015 the boat sailed off and he never saw it again,” Mr Power said.
Mr Holt yesterday urged the jury to keep an open mind.
“There is so much that you are going to learn over the course of this trial that you do not know,” he said.
Mr Hold told the jury the fact the boat was bought almost two years before Mr Turner fled the country “was going to be an important point”.
The court heard after Mr Turner’s arrest in 2011, his business fell apart and he went bankrupt in 2014.
“That’s going to be an important fact to help you understand why it was that Liz Turner and Darryl Turner, his parents’ bank accounts were being used for various things,” Mr Holt said.
So far four witnesses have given evidence in the trail, which continues later this morning.