Kidnap trial is told of threats

Original source: The Daily Advertiser

AN alleged kidnapping victim will continuing giving evidence today in the trial of an Albury man accused of the crime.

Michael King, a lawyer for the accused, William Alex Gardner, 32, told a District Court jury in Wagga yesterday the victim, Steine Boland, 21, had lied.

So had Mr Boland’s friend, Aaron Myers.

Gardner pleaded not guilty to a charge of take/detain in company with intent to get an advantage occasioning actual bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company and robbery in company.

Crown advocate Brendan Queenan, told the jury it was the intention in kidnapping Mr Boland to get money from him.

It is alleged Gardner and three other men entered a home unit in Wagga, about 7.30am on July 6, 2012, and then forced Mr Boland into a station wagon, intending to take him to Albury.

Mr Boland was threatened with being stabbed if he did not go.

On the drive south, Mr Boland had been elbowed and punched while he sat between two men in the back seat.

At Gerogery, demands were made for Mr Boland’s bank details and he was told his money would be taken and he would be “smashed”, Mr Queenan told the court.

Mr Queenan said Mr Myers had phoned police as the men tried to enter the Wagga flat and officers stopped the car 30 kilometres from Albury.

Counsel for the accused, King, said those involved knew each other, but events at the flat were disputed.

He said Mr Boland owed money to a Kerryann Oaks, having stayed at her Lawrence Street, Wodonga, home.

Mr King said Mr Boland had “disappeared” the night before the alleged kidnapping.

Among mobile phone text messages that followed was one from Mr Boland saying he planned to go back to Wodonga on July 6 to give money to Ms Oaks.

Gardner is alleged to have replied: “Where are you? I’ll come and get you.”

The defence case is that Mr Boland willingly got in the car to go to Wodonga and Gardner was not aware of any assault on him in the back seat because he was driving and the radio was on.

“That is Mr Gardner’s case: he did not kidnap Mr Boland and he did not assault Mr Boland,” Mr King said.

Mr Boland told the jury he borrowed $50 from Ms Oaks on July 5 to pay for petrol.

Next morning in Wagga a group of men arrived, including Gardner, and two others.

One carried a knife and another had a screwdriver, he said.

One man — not Gardner — said: “If you don’t come with us we are going to stab ya”.

Mr Boland said he was taken by the arm and walked downstairs to a car.

The trial continues today.