Gladiators president Frank Van Der Kroft in court

RIDING: Gladiators president Frank Van Der Kroft didn’t see who shot him on Wine Country Drive. GLADIATORS president Frank Van Der Kroft said Grant Welsh was demoted to nominee status at the Maitland chapter’s 2011 AGM, but he denied that Mr Welsh expressed himself in ‘‘colourful’’ language upon hearing the news, Newcastle District Court heard yesterday.
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Mr Van Der Kroft was shot four or five times while riding his Harley Davidson along Wine Country Drive at North Rothbury before 2pm on July 22, 2012.

Mr Welsh, 36, of Ashtonfield, is accused of carrying out the shooting as an act of revenge and has pleaded not guilty to shooting with intent to murder.

Mr Van Der Kroft said Mr Welsh had been a member of the club for a number of years and had risen to sergeant-at-arms at one stage.

Mr Welsh held the rank of corporal when he was demoted to nominee status at the chapter’s 2011 annual meeting, Mr Van Der Kroft said.

Mr Welsh had to hand in his colours and later left the club of his own accord.

His barrister, Paul Rosser QC, suggested to Mr Van Der Kroft that Mr Welsh left the club immediately after his demotion and voicing his disapproval in ‘‘colourful’’ terms, but Mr Van Der Kroft said that wasn’t the case.

He said Mr Welsh left the club about a week after the meeting.

Co-accused Andrew Pickering was a former president of the Gunnedah chapter, Mr Van Der Kroft said.

Mr Pickering, 41, of Ashtonfield, has pleaded not guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He and Mr Welsh are accused of following Mr Van Der Kroft in two cars before Mr Welsh, who was being driven by another man, produced a pistol and shot Mr Van Der Kroft four or five times.

Mr Van Der Kroft said he didn’t see who shot him.

He was shown footage of a fight at the Hunter Valley Brewery in Maitland about a month before the shooting involving a number of Gladiators and Mr Welsh, however, Mr Van Der Kroft said he didn’t recognise anyone in the footage because of its poor quality.

The trial, before Judge Helen Wilson, continues.

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