A person took a photograph of himself holding a gun that was used to violently abduct a person and torture him for a multimillion-dollar ransom, in accordance with police allegations.
Kiteau Tatafu appeared within the NSW Supreme Court through audiovisual hyperlink on Thursday to make a bid for bail after spending six months behind bars on remand.
Police allege the 21-year-old was certainly one of six males who kidnapped Sydney resident Peter Vuong from his residence in western Sydney at 5.20am on March 9.
The group of males allegedly stormed the Smithfield residence with a sledgehammer and a gun and compelled Mr Vuong into the again of a automobile.
Police allege they drove him about 18km to a rundown home in Belmore, the place they held him hostage for six days.
Throughout that point, police declare his captors tortured the 26-year-old and forcibly eliminated his tooth.
Mr Tatafu and his 5 alleged co-offenders tried to extort $5m from Mr Vuong’s family and pals to safe their sufferer’s launch, in accordance with the police allegations.
On Thursday, the NSW Supreme Court was instructed Mr Tatafu had a photograph on his cell phone of himself holding a gun with the caption “payday bought me like”.
Crown prosecutor Jade Pearson claimed the firearm was the identical one used to kidnap Mr Vuong and maintain him hostage for six days.
Nevertheless, Mr Tatafu’s barrister AJ Karim conceded there have been “some similarities” between the images however famous there have been vertical grooves on one firearm that weren’t seen on the opposite.
“It may possibly’t be stated it’s the identical gun,” he stated.
“It may possibly’t be stated that’s an actual gun both.”
Ms Pearson stated police had discovered Mr Tatafu’s DNA and fingerprints on two gadgets contained in the vacant home the place Mr Vuong was violently attacked for a number of days.
Nevertheless, Mr Karim instructed the court that his client had beforehand had “an affiliation” with the Belmore property, so the forensic proof could possibly be “equally per innocence”.
Police allege calls from Mr Tatafu’s cell phone additionally positioned him within the Belmore space for a number of days throughout Mr Vuong’s alleged captivity.
Encrypted messages despatched to his alleged co-conspirators established that the 21-year-old had contributed “some component of planning” to the kidnapping, the Crown prosecutor argued.
CCTV footage allegedly reveals him in a automobile together with his co-accused Lolo Liavaa at a McDonald’s solely 1km away from the hostage home on March 10.
4 days later, Mr Tatafu was allegedly captured on CCTV getting into the Belmore property whereas carrying a particular jumper that had one lengthy sleeve and one brief sleeve.
Ms Pearson stated photographs retrieved from Mr Tatafu’s cellphone present him carrying the very same high that police had seized from his residence after his arrest.
But Mr Karim argued it was laborious to differentiate particulars within the CCTV footage captured from a close-by Belmore residence.
“They appear extra like they’re carrying ninja fits. You can’t inform who these people are,” he stated.
Mr Karim argued the Crown case in opposition to his client appeared “overwhelming” and just like the hit movie Reservoir Canines, but it surely contained “inherent flaws” upon nearer inspection.
The defence barrister requested Justice Natalie Adams to grant his client bail so he may attend a rehabilitation centre in Swan Bay below strict supervision.
The court was instructed the Join International facility would supply a mattress for a six-month program, however Mr Tatafu would possible have to attend one other yr earlier than he may proceed to trial.
Ms Pearson opposed bail because of the danger the 21-year-old would fail to seem in court, commit a severe offence or endanger the group after the rehabilitation interval.
Justice Adams characterised the Crown case in opposition to Mr Tatafu as “moderately sturdy” and stated the younger man appeared to have “gone off the rails”.
She is going to hand down her determination about his bail on September 18.
Mr Tatafu has been charged with aggravated break and enter, inflicting grievous bodily hurt with intent, and demanding property with menace.
His co-accused Sunia Tu Ineau Junior Siasau, John Totau Fahamokioa, Viliami Siasu, Valali Tonga and Mr Liavaa stay earlier than the courts.