Outback Wrangler star’s big win in court: Matt Wright returns home and has his bail conditions eased as he fights to clear his name over helicopter crash that killed his mate
- Some of the Outback Wrangler’s bail conditions eased
- Judge ruled Matt Wright doesn’t have to wear electronic monitor
- Can contact four associates previously on non-contact order
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright is not required to wear an electronic ankle monitor as part of his bail conditions as he faces charges over a helicopter crash that killed his mate.
The high profile wildlife warrior, 43, is accused of seven serious criminal offences after the crash claimed the life of his television co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson in the Northern Territory.
Mr Wilson was collecting crocodile eggs in a remote area of West Arnhem Land when the Robinson R44 helicopter he was dangling from collided with trees and plunged to the ground on February 28 last year.
Wright has since been hit with a range of charges, including destroying evidence and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The matter returned to Darwin Local Court on Wednesday where Wright’s lawyer Giles O’Brien-Hartcher fought to have some of his client’s bail conditions eased.
He also sought to have nine associates removed from Wright’s 46-person non-contact order.
The court heard Wright returned home in the Top End a week ago to manage his tourism and adventure business operations ahead of the upcoming peak season.
Matt Wright (pictured with wife Kaia) doesn’t have to wear an electronic ankle monitor after he recently returned to the Northern Territory
He has spent the last six months living in Queensland with his wife Kaia and their two young children.
The court heard Wright wanted to freely return to NT, a request the Crown agreed to on the condition he wear an electronic monitoring device to protect the ‘sanctity’ of the evidence, The Australian reported.
‘The protection of the interference of witnesses goes to the heart of the allegation that we’re prosecuting in the first instance,’ prosecutor Steve Ledek told the court.
Wright’s lawyer argued an ankle monitor was a ‘restraint on liberty that doesn’t serve a purpose’ and that his client did not intend to breach conditions.
Judge Richard Wallace agreed.
‘It doesn’t seem to me that there’s any justification for compromising the privacy of Mr Wright in this way,’ he said.
He instead ordered Wright to provide police with 12 hours’ notice before changing his residential address.
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright (pictured recently in court) was recently charged with seven serious criminal offences in a relation to a fatal helicopter crash last February
Wright’s close friend and television co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) was tragically killed in a helicopter crash during a crocodile egg collecting mission almost a year ago
Wright can now contact four business associates who were previously on the non-contact list.
Five more names are expected to be dropped from the non-contact list at the next preliminary examination mention in March.
Wright has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, destroying evidence, fabricating evidence, unlawfully entering a building, unlawfully entering a dwelling, making a false declaration and interfering with witnesses in a criminal investigation or court process by making threats/reprisals.
Wright has previously strenuously denied any wrongdoing in relation to the crash.
This month marks one year since Chris Wilson’s helicopter collided with trees and crashed the ground during a crocodile egg retrieval mission in West Arnhem Land.
He was attached to a line using a harness so he could harvest eggs from crocodile nests in swampy areas while the helicopter hovered above.
Matt Wright (pictured with wife Kaia) can also now contact four associates who were previously on a non-contact list
Multiple investigations into what happened before, during and after the fatal helicopter crash continue.
The NT police investigation is expected to be completed by early March.
Wright and other two men charged in relation to the crash are all due to reappear in court on March 8.
Wright became a household name more than a decade ago as the star of National Geographic Channel series Outback Wrangler, which has since been aired in almost 100 countries.
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