South Western Times

Bikie link claim on guilty duo

- CARLY LADEN

An alleged Rebels bikie gang member is among two men awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of forcing a Busselton man to withdraw $1000 from an ATM to repay them for a missing car.

Jacob Adam Anderson, 32, and Brandon Macleod Duff, 41, were found guilty of deprivatio­n of liberty and stealing after a District Court trial last week.

The pair were found not guilty of demanding property by oral threats.

Two Australind men, including an alleged Rebels bikie gang member, have been found guilty of forcing a Busselton man to withdraw $1000 from an ATM to repay them for a missing car.

Jacob Adam Anderson, 32, and Brandon Macleod Duff, 41, were found guilty of deprivatio­n of liberty and stealing following a four-day trial in Bunbury District Court last week.

The court heard Anderson and Duff travelled to Gary Espanos’ Goldsmith Street residence on June 14, 2019 after hearing Anderson’s brother’s Holden Senator had allegedly come into the 54-yearold’s possession.

It was understood the pair were acting on assumption­s made by other parties that Mr Espanos allegedly agreed to buy the car after Anderson’s brother was a tenant at Mr Espanos’ Capel property.

In evidence, Mr Espanos said he did not have the Senator, nor had an interest in buying the Senator, and had only purchased a blue ute from Anderson’s brother for his son. When Anderson and Duff arrived at Mr Espanos’ residence, the court was told Anderson confronted Mr Espanos, allegedly demanding to know where the Senator was or he would have to pay $30,000 to compensate.

It was further alleged if Mr Espanos did not comply with Anderson’s orders, he would “get a flogging”, prompting Mr Espanos to tell the pair he only had $1000 and he would have to withdraw that money.

When he offered to ride his pushbike to a nearby ATM, Anderson told Mr Espanos “you’re coming with us” and was escorted by Anderson and Duff to a parked vehicle outside Mr Espanos’ residence.

The pair drove Mr Espanos to a nearby service station and CCTV footage captured Duff following Mr Espanos inside the service station and standing behind him as he withdrew $1000 from the ATM.

After receiving the money, the pair drove Mr Espanos back to his residence, allegedly telling him if he did not come up with the rest of the outstandin­g debt, they would “blow his shed up and kill him”.

In evidence, Mr Espanos maintained he had no interest in the Senator at the centre of the confrontat­ion and complied with Anderson and Duff’s orders out of fear. Despite Anderson’s lawyer Peter Ash claiming his client was acting on a claim of right on behalf of his brother, State prosecutor Gary Huggins told the court in closing, the transactio­n was never done willingly and Anderson acted as the principal offender while Duff was the “aider”.

The pair were found not guilty of their respective charges of demanding property by oral threats.

They are due to be sentenced in Perth District Court on June 3.

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