‘Gut-wrenching’: Family heartbroken as alleged killer freed
ON the day the Beasley family should be celebrating their son Jack's 18th birthday, they are forced to deal with the fact a man charged over his death walked from prison on bail.
Ma-Mal-J Toala, 19, was yesterday granted bail in Brisbane Supreme Court under strict conditions, although the heartbreak for the Beasley family continues.
The decision to grant Toala bail was given after the court was shown vision of the fatal stabbing.
Police have alleged five teens - aged 19, 17, 15 and two 16-year-olds - exchanged words with Jack and another teenager near the IGA in Surfers Paradise just before 8pm on December 13.
The 15-year-old is charged with pulling out a hunting-style knife and stabbing Jack to death.
Last week, the court was told Toala was aware of a knife, but his defence barrister, Rob East QC, argued his client did not know it was going to be used during the altercation.
CCTV footage of the alleged incident lasted just over a minute.
Mr East played the footage to highlight his client's alleged role, arguing he was on the fringe of the altercation before ultimately becoming involved.
Judge Peter Davis last week said it wasn't an "open and shut case of murder" against Toala.
Mr Davis granted bail, despite the prosecution arguing he was a risk of reoffending and a flight risk, and will publish his reasons next Thursday.
Jack's devastated parents said "the kick in the guts" had only compounded their grief.
"It's gut-wrenching, heartbreaking," Jack's dad Brett said.
"Here we are on the eve of Jack's 18th.
"On Christmas Eve we got his ashes back and now on the eve on his birthday this bloke gets out on bail."
Jack's mum Belinda said they had planned to do something special for his birthday, but are restricted because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
"We were going to have family and friends over, but it's just going to be Brett, (Jack's brother) Mitchell and I," she said.
"We've got a moment for Jacko where we are asking everyone to pause, light a candle and raise a glass for his birthday at 8pm and tag The Jack Beasley Foundation with their photos."
Brett said: "We'll just have his urn out here and sit here and have a beer with him.
"That's all we can do, isn't it?"
Belinda said no amount of time would heal the wounds left behind by Jack's death.
"We're always going to ask ourselves 'why?' We will never get any answers.
"I find it hard to get out of bed every morning, I struggle big time, but you just have to.
"I cannot wash his doona, I just cannot do it. A friend of ours made his favourite shirts into pillows, so we've got that. I went and got his fingerprints put into a tattoo on my arm - never had a tattoo in my life.
"I think it's got harder. We were in that much shock for the first couple of months, but it's a really empty feeling."
The family started the Jack Beasley Foundation to make sure nothing like this happens to another family again.
"The idea to set up the Jack Beasley Foundation was a hard decision for us," Brett said. "You would never think you would have to make a foundation in your own son's name. But I can't let it go.
"We can only hope through the foundation we can make some changes. If we can make one little bit of change in someone's life that will mean everything. If we can stop one kid from dying, then we've done something."
The foundation was supposed to launch last month, but due to the coronavirus outbreak it has been pushed back to a tentative date of June 27 at the Arundel Tavern.
Donations can be made at the Jack Beasley Foundation website.
Originally published as 'Gut-wrenching': Family heartbroken as alleged killer freed