News

Client called man's mother 'fat and smelly', court hears

Update

THE lawyer of a man accused of extorting money from the director of a heavy machinery business claims a false police report was made after his client called the man's mother "fat" and "smelly".

Tomica Kruljac told the jury that he didn't lift up his shirt to show a gun or threaten to kill Andrew McDonald, the company director of McDonald Murphy Machinery.

Mr Kruljac testified that he hadn't been happy with work that had been done, and he'd wanted to discuss it with Mr McDonald, so he'd arranged to meet him on February 24, 2015.

Mr Kruljac's solicitor, Sam Nyugen, put it to Mr McDonald that in a meeting Mr Kruljac had told him his mother was a "big, fat, smelly, c***, whore". Mr McDonald said that was "totally inaccurate".

Mr Nyugen suggested to Mr McDonald that he'd been so offended that he'd made a false report to police.

Mr Kruljac testified that after he'd made a derogatory comment, Mr McDonald replied he was lucky that he didn't knock his "block off".

Mr Kruljac said he'd asked for a return of the money he'd spent on repair services and called Mr McDonald a "lying, cheating, fat piece of s***".

He said he had not stood up to show a gun, but to pull up his pants as he had not worn a belt that day.

During the trial, a plain clothes officer testified that he'd located Mr Kruljac in Mackay Base Hospital on the night of the incident.

He testified that a text sent to Mr McDonald's phone afterwards had been sent from an unknown number and passed through the Mackay Base Hospital tower.

That text was tendered as evidence in court.

It read "That's the way you wish to play" and "this is your last time to start saying goodbye to loved ones".

The Crown prosecutor questioned Mr Kruljac about 'King Kaboobee', the name which featured in a text sent to Mr McDonald from an unknown number on January 29, 2015.

Mr Kruljac said that he and Michelle Manera had been trying to register King Kaboobee Royal Charity Services as a tax-deductible organisation.

They'd made up the name, which was "related to a woman's chest", Mr Kruljac said.

When asked what the charity was, Mr Kruljac replied "there were three things, now we've cut it down to one". He said the machinery he had had serviced, a backhoe and a skid steer, were "in case of emergency".

Mr Kruljac testified that he had a disability and Ms Manera was his former partner and current carer.

Initial:

A CROWN prosecutor said an unhappy customer of a heavy machinery business had told the company director he'd "be back tomorrow to put one in your head" if he did not meet a list of demands totalling more than $200,000.

Seaforth man Tomica Kruljac, 50, pleaded not guilty to extortion on the first day of his trial in the District Court in Mackay.

Crown prosecutor Jacob Robson said Mr Kruljac and his carer Michelle Manera were customers of McDonald Murphy Machinery.

Company director and part owner Andrew McDonald testified that the first time he'd spoken to Mr Kruljac was in October 2014. Mr Kruljac told Mr McDonald he'd recently purchased a used skid steer and a used backhoe and wanted to get them into a serviceable condition.

Mr McDonald testified that Mr Kruljac had said he'd wanted to use the equipment for "charitable purposes". He said the work had been completed and paid for on December 1, 2014.

Mr McDonald said that on January 22, he received an "abusive" email from Mr Kruljac with a list of issues.

On January 29, he received a text message from an unknown number, saying "Prince Sulten the son of King Kaboobee" requested a meeting with him to discuss "problems" with the work.

The text, which was tendered as evidence in court, said Mr Kruljac had been "made to look the fool".

Mr McDonald said that on February 24, 2015, Mr Kruljac had come to his office because he'd said that he wanted to discuss "further business".

Mr McDonald said he had become "quite aggressive" and told him he should sack all his staff.

He said Mr Kruljac had stood up, lifted his shirt, and he saw what appeared to be a handgun.

Mr Kruljac then allegedly said "I'll put one in your head right now, then I'll go downstairs and start shooting".

Mr McDonald said the man had a handful of phones and said he had "at least 40 people who can take you out" on the phones.

He allegedly told Mr McDonald to donate a back hoe (worth $140,000) and a skid steer (worth $60,000) to his charity, and repay the nearly $13,000 he'd paid for the machinery repairs.

Mr McDonald said Mr Kruljac had told him he needed it delivered to his address by 5pm, or he would be back the following day to "start blasting".

A handwritten note, with a Seaforth address, was tendered as evidence.

Mr Robson showed the court an email sent to Mr McDonald, apparently from Ms Manera's email address, with bank details for an account called King Kaboobee.

Topics:  business extortion machinery mackay threats trial



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