A Gold Coast real estate agent slapped with a restraining order for making a throat-slitting gesture to a rival agent has vowed to appeal.
Ray White principal Gary William Gannon was officially ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with fellow agent and developer Rod Lambert for 12 months.
Mr Lambert filed for the order, claiming he was in fear of his life and had taken to sleeping with knives and a baseball bat after Mr Gannon made the gesture to him at a coffee shop at the Oasis Shopping Centre at Broadbeach on April 12.
Mr Gannon’s defence barrister, Chris Wilson, argued the gesture was not a death threat and was intended to tell Mr Lambert to “stop calling” him.
Southport Magistrate John Costanzo ruled the gesture was meant to be “taken personally by the complainant as a threat to harm or cause injury” and that Mr Lambert’s resulting fear was a reasonable reaction in the circumstances.
The court heard there had been “bad blood” between the agents for two years over an ongoing property dispute on Millionaire’s Row.
Mr Lambert has lodged complaints with police claiming that an agent linked with Ray White Broadbeach had misled him into paying too much for a $10.59 million beach front property at Albatross Avenue, Mermaid Beach, in 2008.
Magistrate Costanzo noted that the allegations by Mr Lambert were still under investigation by the police, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the Department of Fair Trading and so far, no criminal or civil legal action had been taken.
Mr Lambert is due to face court next month charged with trespassing at the Ray White Broadbeach offices a day after the throat-slitting gesture and allegedly confronting Mr Gannon in front of his staff over the alleged death threat.
Yesterday, in the Southport Magistrates Court, Mr Costanzo ordered that under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act, Mr Gannon must not come within 100m of Mr Lambert’s home or office or follow him in a public place.
Outside court, a spokeswoman for Ray White said Mr Gannon would immediately appeal the order.
Mr Lambert’s solicitor, Bill Potts, said the need for such an order was unfortunate but necessary.
“These people are in competition in a high-pressure industry where millions of dollars and egos are at stake,” he said.