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A Moorabool councillor has broken down in court as she described threats allegedly made by a Maddingley man involved in a dispute over a sheep.
Tonia Dudzik told the Ballarat Magistrates Court she contacted police and the Chief Executive when Godwin Aquilina allegedly told her she was ‘number 19’ on his hit list – behind a long list of neighbours, council staff and other councillors.
He also hung a series of mannequins – including a female sex doll with a penis – from a tower on his Love Close property with Cr Dudzik’s name on a structure directly underneath.
“I was extremely stressed (when I discovered this),” she told Magistrate Letizia Torres, her voice breaking.
“I think he has made mistakes, but his anger at Council is misplaced.
“I have helped him many times.
“He should never have rung me up and told me he was going to hurt me.
“He made me feel very afraid.”
Mr Aquilina is accused of breaching an intervention order Cr Dudzik made against him.
The court was told she requested a series of court orders, after advice from the CEO.
“He said it was the only way he could protect me,” the East Ward councillor said.
“To be honest, it was an absolutely horrific process. If the court has any powers to extend that (order), please do.”
The court was told Aquilina was not to contact the councillor or use her name in any way.
“He went against that because he used my name on a sign under a hanging mannequin,” she said.
Aquilina represented himself in court and during cross-examination he asked Cr Dudzik how she interpreted the different mannequins on his property.
“I ask how a hanging doll with an eight-inch penis is meant to be you, Tonia?” he said.
“This has nothing to do with you personally. It is not attacking you personally. It is to do with council and neighbours”
She told the court she had donated a cubby house for Aquilina’s children to use, but it was instead hauled on top of a shipping container and covered in graffiti.
Neighbour Gerard Miller said when he first noticed the cubby, he could not make out the messages on it, but he did recognize Cr Dudzik’s name.
“It was part of this structure with dolls and stuff hanging from it,” he told the court.
“I was very worried about Tonia.
“When Godwin throws his rubbish out, it blows into our front yard. One day we picked up a piece of paper where (it described that) he threatened to kill a Melbourne council worker.
“I rang up Cr Dudzik and I told her that Godwin was on fire and he had written her name on a kids cubby house.”
Mr Miller also told the court that he believed Aquilina deliberately targeted women.
“You should be up on false statements,” Mr Aquilina told the court.
“I have never hit a woman.
“I’m back to absolutely nothing now. I’m homeless. With all the technology we have now, if I had done any of these things – to you, (neighbour) Debra Bullock or Tonia Dudzik – you could have taped it.
“Where is any evidence I have ever done any of these things?”
Cr Dudzik told the court that on Remembrance Day 2017 Aquilina rang her to apologise in advance because he was going to hurt her. She said he also allegedly threatened the entire Council.
“Three weeks after that, there was a Council meeting – and that just terrified me.
“I cried and went home early.
“Later I sent texts to ask if everyone was OK.”
The court was told police attended the meeting.
Cr Dudzik also described a 5 May 2018 incident at Wilson’s Hardware where she volunteered at a fundraising barbecue.
“I felt a poke. It hurt. It was right on the bone. I turned around and the only person I saw there was Mr Aquilina.
“I got such a shock because the last time I had seen him, he had stripped to his undies (at a Moorabool Council meeting two days before).
“He doesn’t have any right to put a hand on me.
“For a while there I became very afraid when people would walk behind me. That was because of that incident.”
The court was told things first turned sour almost two years before – on 2 July 2016 – when Cr Dudzik offered building materials to construct a fence that would comply with Aquilina’s planning permit. She said this would have allowed him to keep a Merino called ‘Jackie Chan’ in his suburban yard.
“I rang him and made the offer,” she said.
“I had also organized for someone to come with me for my safety – and to get him from the city (where he had been sleeping rough beside the ram).
“He was verbally abusive. He said: ‘F*ck council. You’re all f*ckers’ and that’s when I switched off. I couldn’t listen to it. I just hung up.”
She also spoke of graffiti on his fence facing Parwan Road.
“That material on your property is offensive,” she told the hearing.
“Children were going past – there were many buses going past – and children were asking what ‘rape’ was.
“People don’t need that Godwin.”
He told the court there was nothing on the fence that was “obscene, rude or crude”.
Aquilina also said he did not make any threats or physical contact.
“I have never threatened anybody and never had no intentions (to threaten),” he said.
“The restraining order was the only way you could hurt me, belittle me, harass me.”
Aquilina also questioned the time and date of photos of his property presented to the court. Magistrate Torres was told they were taken by a Council Manager Satwinder Sandhu who died in 2020.
She extended Aquilina’s bail.
The hearing will continue tomorrow (Wednesday).
It is one of five hearings at Ballarat Magistrates Court this week related to Mr Aquilina.
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Main image: Ballarat Magistrates Court. Inset: Godwin Aquilina and Jackie Chan the ram.