Man held over bikie boss shooting released on bail

THE former president of the Gunnedah chapter of the Gladiators, Andrew Craig Pickering, has been released on bail after spending four weeks in custody over the shooting of the bikie gang’s boss, Frank Van Der Kroft.

During a lengthy bail application in Newcastle Local Court yesterday, Mr Pickering’s barrister George Thomas said there was no evidence that his client saw the shooting, saw the gun, or heard anything about shots being fired.

Mr Pickering was in a car behind the vehicle in which the alleged shooter and another man were travelling when Van Der Kroft was shot, he said.

‘‘There was an indeterminate degree of presence because no one can say how close my client was,’’ Mr Thomas said.

Mr Pickering, 40, and the former Maitland chapter sergeant-at-arms of the Gladiators Grand David Welsh, 35, were arrested at their separate premises after simultaneous dawn raids by police on October 24.

They have both been charged with shoot with intent to murder.

Mr Pickering, of Ballydoyle Street, Ashtonfield, is further charged with possession of a firearm.

He has not yet been required to enter pleas but Mr Thomas said all allegations against him were denied.

Van Der Kroft survived being shot four times in the back as he rode along Wine Country Drive at North Rothbury on July 22.

The matter was adjourned to December 19.

Newcastle Herald

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