A man accused of involvement in the alleged kidnapping of former cricketer Stuart MacGill was on parole at the time and is allegedly an affiliate of the Comanchero motorcycle gang, a Sydney court has heard.
- A group of men were arrested over the alleged kidnapping
- One of them, Elijah Schaaf, was refused bail in a Sydney court today
- The court heard he had a history of “acting in concert” with criminals
Elijah Schaaf was denied bail after a NSW Supreme Court judge heard he visited a hardware store to buy items including rope and electrical ties before the alleged kidnapping in April last year.
Police believe MacGill was forced into a car on Sydney’s north shore and driven to a rundown property at Bringelly, in the city’s west, where he was assaulted and held at gunpoint.
Mr Schaaf was among a group of men who were arrested over the incident in May.
Mr Schaaf’s barrister, AJ Karim, told the court while on first glance the case against his client appeared strong, there were several “inherent flaws”.
“How can the Crown possibly negate the possibility that those items were purchased for lawful purposes,” he said.
“Alternatively, that they were purchased under instructions … without the applicant having any knowledge of what was just about to take place?”
Mr Karim said there was no suggestion in the evidence the items purchased from the hardware store were used to detain the alleged victim.
The barrister also refuted the Crown’s suggestion the 23-year-old was associated with the bikie gang.
“In my respectful submission, they are damaging assertions,” he said.
“There is no factual basis provided to support what the Crown is saying.”
The court heard Mr Schaaf was on parole at the time, having completed in September a sentence for knowingly or recklessly directing a criminal group.
The Crown alleges Mr Schaaf can be placed at relevant places by telephone monitoring and said while he had no history of violent offences, he did have a history of “acting in concert” with criminals to carry out serious offending.
Mr Karim proposed “extremely onerous” bail conditions, including ankle monitoring and a $20,000 surety.
Justice Stephen Campbell noted Mr Schaaf’s mother was unwell with kidney failure and his incarceration had made it difficult for him to be tested and determine if he could be a donor.
He also took into account Mr Schaaf’s partner was pregnant with their first child and was experiencing financial hardship.
But in refusing bail, the judge said the “force of circumstances” were such that the Crown case was strong and there loomed the possibility of a “significant custodial sentence” if Mr Schaaf was convicted.
The court heard he intended to proceed to trial but due to delays created by the pandemic that may not be before early 2023.