Two brothers who allegedly acted as ‘hired muscle’ in the kidnapping of Stuart MacGill have claimed the former Test cricketer accompanied them voluntarily and was involved in drug dealing, a court has heard.
Richard and Frederick Schaaf appeared in District Court on Wednesday seeking bail pending trial in connection with the alleged abduction of Mr MacGill outside his home on Sydney’s Lower North Shore last year.
The court heard there was a central disagreement between the prosecution and defense over whether Mr MacGill had in fact been abducted, with the brothers alleging in court that he had voluntarily surrendered to the derelict property in South West Sydney.
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Judge Alister Abadee said the alleged kidnapping happened following a drug deal gone wrong in which a trafficker known as ‘Sonny’ defrauded a criminal syndicate.
Police have previously said Mr MacGill was ‘purely’ a victim and not involved in any criminal activity.
The brothers were arrested for the alleged plot alongside Marino Sotiropoulos, who is the brother of Mr MacGill’s partner Maria O’Meagher, and three other men.
According to the prosecution case, Mr. MacGill provided an introduction between Mr. Sotiropoulos and “Sonny”, heard by the court.
When ‘Sonny’ used counterfeit money to steal two kilograms of cocaine, the group pressured Mr MacGill to be paid because he had ‘vouched’ for Sonny.
The court heard Mr MacGill had been ‘blamed’ for the ‘scam’.
The brothers are two of six men due to stand trial after Mr MacGill was allegedly taken to the property last year where he was assaulted, threatened with a gun and made demands for money.
He was reportedly held for an hour before being driven to Belmore, in south-west Sydney, where he was released and allowed to board a taxi.
But the court heard the two men claimed Mr MacGill was involved in drug trafficking.
“The claim is that the plaintiff was involved in a drug transaction,” Judge Abadee said.
The men’s lawyer, Greg Goold, said 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 agreed to get in the car.
“The argument is that he consented to go,” Mr Goold said.
“Second, when they got to Bringelly he was left alone in a car with no restraints and given the option of driving away.
“Thereafter, there was no aggression against him.”
Earlier this year the couple pleaded not guilty to charges of corporate detention with intent to gain a benefit, with the case due to go to trial mid next year.
Mr. Sotiropoulos was charged with taking/detaining company with intent to gain advantage, supplying a prohibited drug and harassing/intimidating with intent to cause fear/physical harm .
He will appear in district court next month when he is arraigned and pleads.
The court heard it was alleged that Frederick and Richard Schaaf acted as “hired muscle” during the ordeal.
It is alleged that Frederick led the group to and from Bringelly while Richard was involved in threats and assaults on Mr MacGill.
Mr MacGill went into hiding for almost a week before reporting the alleged incident to the police.
The court heard that Ms O’Meagher witnessed a bump on her head.
However, Mr Goold said those injuries were not consistent with a “vicious” beating.
In a statement, Mr MacGill had said he feared 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 claimed he was threatened with bolt cutters, but police found garden shears in Richard Schaaf’s car.
And Mr. Goold argued that Mr. MacGill should have known the difference.
The court also played a short CCTV clip from a make-up shop in Belmore, which showed Richard Schaaf allowing Mr MacGill into a taxi following the alleged kidnapping.
Mr. Goold argued that the vision was proof that Mr. MacGill was not under duress.
They offered strict bail conditions, including offering up to $100,000 in bail and reporting to police twice a day.
Police prosecutor Stella Calderbank opposed the brothers’ bail request on the grounds that the proposed terms would not improve the risk of re-offending.
The brothers watched from Silverwater Jail as Judge Abadee denied their bail request.
He cited the seriousness of the alleged offense that according to their version of events they had blamed a third party for the loss of money when they had no reasonable grounds.