His older brother, Brendan Lee, was denied bail on Thursday after a court heard he had approached a witness. Police say Mr Cronin, 19, was acting as a mediator after a brawl outside a Diamond Creek pub on Saturday when he was hit and suffered fatal head injuries.
Detective Senior Constable Glen Sharper said Brendan, 37, had arranged to meet one witness in a park, knowing the man had made a statement about the fight at the Windy Mile pub. When he arrived, Brendan was with three other men, the court heard.
Brendan allegedly quizzed the witness about the statement and said he could be charged with affray for speaking to police, Det Sen Con Sharper told the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Melbourne, on Thursday.
Brendan allegedly told the man, 42, to contact a lawyer who could arrange for their statement to be redacted, and mentioned he could cover some of the witness’ wages. The statement had implicated Andrew Lee in the alleged incident, the court heard.
Det Sen Con Sharper said police were now having trouble reaching other witnesses who were initially thought to be co-operative. He believed there would be more witness interference if Brendan was granted bail.
Brendan, a construction project manager, lives in Yarrambat with his wife and two children and has no prior convictions.
Brendan’s defence lawyer, Martin Amad, said Brendan had not threatened the witness or used any violence and had known the man “all their lives”.
But Magistrate Andrew McKenna said the police concerns were “very troubling” and denied bail after noting Brendan would have a “vested interest” in the wellbeing of his younger brother.
Mr Cronin played for the Lower Plenty Football Club with his brother, Lucas, before going to the pub on the weekend.
The teen walked to a nearby home but was taken to hospital shortly after where he remained in a critical condition until his family made the decision to switch off his life support on Monday. Brendan is due back before the court early next month, while his brother is due to reappear in September.