Outback Wrangler star’s big win in court: Matt Wright returns home and has his bail eased as he fights to clear his name after helicopter crash that killed his buddy
- Some of the Outback Wrangler’s bail conditions were relaxed
- The judge ruled that Matt Wright does not have to wear an electronic monitor
- Can contact four staff sooner on contactless order
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright will not be required to wear an electronic ankle monitor as part of his bail conditions as he faces charges in a helicopter crash that killed his mate.
The high-profile wildlife warrior, 43, is facing charges of seven serious offenses after the crash claimed the life of his TV co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson in the Northern Territory.
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 crashed to the ground on February 28 last year.
Wright has since been hit with a series of charges, including destroying evidence and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The case returned to Darwin’s local court on Wednesday, where Wright’s lawyer, Giles O’Brien-Hartcher, fought to have some of his client’s bail conditions relaxed.
He also tried to have nine employees removed from Wright’s 46-person non-contact order.
The court heard Wright returned home to the Top End a week ago to manage his tourism and adventure business ahead of the upcoming high season.
Matt Wright (pictured with wife Kaia) is not required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet after recently returning to the Northern Territory
He has been living in Queensland for the past six months with his wife Kaia and their two young children.
The court heard that Wright wished to return freely to NT, a request the Crown agreed to on the condition that he wear an electronic surveillance device to protect the “inviolability” of the evidence, The Australian reported.
“The protection of witness interference goes to the heart of the charge we are prosecuting in the first instance,” prosecutor Steve Ledek told the court.
Wright’s lawyer argued that an ankle bracelet was a “restriction of liberty that serves no purpose” and that his client had no intention of violating its terms.
Judge Richard Wallace agreed.
“It does not seem to me that there is any justification for endangering Mr. Wright’s privacy in this way,” he said.
Instead, he ordered Wright to give police 12 hours’ notice before changing his residential address.
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright (recently pictured in court) was recently charged with seven serious criminal offenses in connection with a deadly helicopter crash last February
Wright’s close friend and TV co-star Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson (pictured) was tragically killed in a helicopter crash nearly a year ago while on a mission to collect crocodile eggs
Wright can now contact four business associates who were previously on the no-contact list.
Five more names are expected to be dropped from the contactless list at the next preliminary investigation entry in March.
Wright has been charged with perverting the course of justice, destroying evidence, fabricating evidence, unlawfully entering a building, unlawfully entering a residence, making a false statement and obstructing witnesses in a criminal investigation or legal action through threats/retaliation.
Wright has previously vehemently denied any allegation related to the crash.
This month marks one year since Chris Wilson’s helicopter collided with trees and crashed to the ground while on a mission to retrieve crocodile eggs in West Arnhem Land.
He was attached to a line with a harness so that he could harvest eggs from crocodile nests in swampy areas while the helicopter hovered above him.
Matt Wright (pictured with his wife Kaia) can now also contact four employees who were previously on a do not 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 in early March.
Wright and two other men charged in connection with the crash are all due to appear in court again on March 8.
Wright became a household name over a decade ago as a star of National Geographic Channel series Outback Wrangler, which has since aired in nearly 100 countries.