Koby Abberton has confronted ridiculously heavy situations in the water as one of the world’s most fearless freesurfers but on March 28 he faced the heaviest moment of his life when he was arrested on a series of charges that if found guilty could carry a combined maximum jail sentence in excess of 50 years.[IMAGE 1]
The 25 year-old from Maroubra on Sydney’s South side has been the subject of intense police investigation following events that led to the death of known rapist and standover man Anthony Hines. Hines, 37, also originally from Maroubra, was shot several times in the head and hand before his body was dumped over a cliff at Mistral Head in Sydney. Koby’s older brother Jai, also a talented surfer, has been charged with Hines’ murder while Koby has been charged with accessory after the fact to murder, perverting the course of justice, hindering police investigation and concealing a serious offence.
Police statements tendered in court allege Jai Abberton and two others met Hines at a local bar on the evening of August 5, 2003. Shortly after Hines left with the group in a 4WD driven by a woman who’s name was suppressed by the court. The woman came to a set of traffic lights on Maroubra Road and heard a shot fired inside the vehicle, which hit Hines in the head. She told police she saw Jai Abberton hold a handgun and fire a further two shots that struck Hines in the head and right hand. Jai is then alleged to have used threats to force the woman to help throw the corpse over the cliff. The woman then drove to Koby’s home and found him there. The court heard she told Koby she was soaked in blood. He then allegedly told her “to go have a shower. Afterwards she heard the two brothers talking to another male. Jai is alleged to have said repeatedly: “It was going to be me or him, he is a rapist, he is a maggot. If anyone asks we dropped him off and we all went home. The woman and Jai are then alleged to have used Koby’s vehicle to dump the gun and clothing into the sea. Koby denied knowing anything about the murder and told police he was in his bedroom and had left his car keys in the lounge room but police allege he actively helped dispose the woman’s 4WD, after also discussing if it could be repaired and cleaned. Koby was granted bail on the basis of no previous convictions but since his release has been shadowed by both detectives and the media.
On March 23 it was reported on prime time television news that nine detectives from the State Crime Commission stormed Abberton’s house at 7am with assets seizure and search warrants. Earlier in the week, during the Snickers Australian Open held at Maroubra, Koby was constantly aware of the presence of police. “There were five uniformed police standing around me,” Abberton told The Sydney Morning Herald in reference to his post heat victory over Kelly Slater in an early round. “I can’t walk into a coffee shop without detectives sitting down nearby watching and listening.” Koby has since become convinced the police are out to destroy his livelihood. “It’s just police harassment, that is all it is. I think it’s getting to the stage where it has to stop.”
Following the raid on his home where he cares for his 78-year-old grandmother and 13-year-old brother, Koby’s passport and records and boarding passes of past trips have been seized. If he wants to travel overseas for work, he must now give police three days’ notice. Stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for updates as they occur.
References:The Daily Telegraph/The Sydney Morning Herald