Two brothers who were alleged to have acted as “hired muscle” during the Stuart MacGill kidnapping have claimed that the former Test cricketer came with them willingly and was involved in the drug trade, a court has heard.
Richard and Frederick Schaaf on Wednesday appeared in the District Court in an effort to be freed on bail as they await trial over the alleged abduction of Mr MacGill from outside his home on Sydney’s lower north shore last year.
The court heard there was a central disagreement between the prosecution and the defense over whether Mr MacGill had in fact been abducted, with the brothers alleging in court he had gone to the abandoned southwestern Sydney property willingly.
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Judge Alister Abadee said that the alleged kidnapping occurred in the wake of a drug transaction gone wrong in which a dealer known as “Sonny” had ripped off a criminal syndicate.
Police have previously said that Mr MacGill was “purely” a victim and not involved in any criminal activity.
The brothers were arrested over the alleged plot alongside Marino Sotiropoulos, who is the brother of Mr MacGill’s partner Maria O’Meagher, as well as three other men.
According to the prosecution case, Mr MacGill provided an introduction between Mr Sotiropoulos and “Sonny”, the court heard.
When “Sonny” had used fake money to steal two kilograms of cocaine, the group had pressured Mr MacGill for payment because he had “vouched” for Sonny.
The court heard that Mr MacGill had been “blamed” for the “rip off”.
The brothers are two of six men who are set to face trial after Mr MacGill was last year allegedly taken to the property where he was assassinated, threatened with a gun and demands were made for money.
He was allegedly held for an hour before being driven to Belmore, in southwestern Sydney, where he was released and allowed to get into a cab.
But the court heard that the two men claimed that Mr MacGill was involved in the drug deal.
“The contention is the complainant was involved in a drug transaction,” Judge Abadee said.
The men’s solicitor Greg Goold said that the ordeal was friendly, saying Mr MacGill had agreed to get in the car with them.
Mr Goold described the ordeal as friendly, saying Mr MacGill had agreed to get in the car.
“The argument is he consented to go,” Mr Goold said.
“Secondly, when they arrive at Bringelly, he was left in a car by himself unrestrained and had the opportunity to leave.
“Thereafter there was no assault occasioned on him at all.”
The pair earlier this year pleaded not guilty to charges of detain in company with intent to gain advantage, with the matter expected to go to trial mid next year.
Mr Sotiropoulos has been charged with take / detain in company with intention to get an advantage, supplying a prohibited drug and stalk / intimidate intending to cause fear / physical harm.
He will appear in the District Court next month, when he is set to be arraigned and enter a plea.
The court heard it’s alleged Frederick and Richard Schaaf had acted as “hired muscle” during the ordeal.
It is alleged that Frederick drove the group to and from Bringelly while Richard was involved in threatening and assaulting Mr MacGill.
Mr MacGill went into hiding for almost a week before he reported the alleged incident to police.
The court heard Ms O’Meagher had witnessed a lump on his head.
However, Mr Goold said those injuries were not consistent with suffering a “vicious” beating.
In a statement, Mr MacGill had said he was left fearing for his safety and that of his family, but Mr Goold said Mr MacGill’s evidence could not be relied upon.
The court heard Mr MacGill had claimed he was threatened with bolt cutters, however police had found garden shears in Richard Schaaf’s car.
And Mr Goold argued Mr MacGill ought to have known the difference.
The court was also played a short extract of CCTV from a Belmore make-up shop, which showed Richard Schaaf allowing Mr MacGill to get into a cab following the alleged abduction.
Mr Goold argued the vision was proof Mr MacGill was not under duress.
They offered stringent bail conditions including that they offer up $ 100,000 sureties and report to police twice a day.
Police prosecutor Stella Calderbank opposed the brothers’ bail application on the grounds the proposed conditions would not ameliorate the risk of further offending.
The brothers watched on from Silverwater prison as Judge Abadee denied their bail application.
He cited the seriousness of the alleged offending that on their version of events they had blamed a third party for the loss of money when they had no reasonable grounds.