Home NewsAustralia Accused gold thieves were ‘unwitting bunnies’ in ‘above board’ deal, court told

Accused gold thieves were ‘unwitting bunnies’ in ‘above board’ deal, court told

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Accused gold thieves were ‘unwitting bunnies’ in ‘above board’ deal, court told

Legal professionals for 2 Kalgoorlie males on trial over an alleged million-dollar gold theft have advised the District Courtroom they had been duped into taking part within the alleged fraud of miner FMR investments.

Russell Wilson Holden, 51, and his enterprise companion, Simon Leslie Gash, 57, are preventing cash laundering and fraud expenses as a part of the trial, which is now in its third week.

Patrick Rhyan Keogh, 42, the previous common supervisor of FMR Investments, and former Greenfields Mill supervisor Christopher Robert Burns, 76, have each pleaded not responsible to stealing as a servant and different expenses regarding the proceeds of an offence.

The fees relate to the alleged theft of 8,465 tonnes of gold-bearing ore from the Greenfields Mill, owned by FMR Investments, between December 2018 and January 2019.

Based mostly on steel costs on the time, the gold the ore produced had an estimated worth of $1.17 million.

Mr Keogh has maintained that FMR Investments founder, well-known WA mining entrepreneur Peter Bartlett, gave him permission to revenue from the ore, known as the “clean-up pile”, throughout a dialog a decade in the past. 

The court docket has heard that materials mined by Mr Holden and Mr Gash was mixed with the allegedly stolen ore to make an even bigger parcel for a milling marketing campaign.

A lawyer in a white business shirt leaving courthouse after long day at trial.
Defence lawyer David Grace KC stated his consumer unknowingly performed a position within the alleged scheme.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

‘Unwitting bunnies’

In his closing tackle, Mr Gash’s lawyer David Grace KC advised the court docket that the enterprise companions had been the “unwitting bunnies” within the case.

He stated the pair had been “not privy” to discussions between Mr Keogh and Mr Bartlett and had been “entitled” to consider that the corporate’s common supervisor and mill supervisor had been authorised to behave as they did.

“There was no earthly purpose for them to consider in any other case,” Mr Grace stated.

“They’ve been dragged into this case … they’re the unwitting bunnies in all of this.”

Mr Grace reiterated that there was no proof of fraud and stated his consumer had an obligation to pay Mr Keogh and Mr Burns, so he did.

“The prosecution will let you know they should have identified [about the allegedly stolen ore], however there isn’t any proof of that,” he stated.

“There’s nothing to show they’d descend to fraud … it is a big step to conclude they went out to defraud.

“They risked shedding all the things.”

A bespectacled man with short hair holds a suit jacket over his shoulder.
Defence lawyer Paul Yovich stated Mr Holden had no purpose to consider the deal was something aside from respectable.(ABC Information: Rhiannon Shine)

‘Above board’

Mr Holden’s lawyer Paul Yovich advised the jury that his consumer had no purpose to consider that the marketing campaign was something however “above board”.

“[Mr Keogh] tells them that, they act on good religion, it is a handshake settlement,” Mr Yovich stated.

“If there’s any deceit happening, [Mr Holden and Mr Gash] are deceived.

“They’d no purpose to consider it was something aside from an above board, arm’s size, gentleman’s settlement happening.”

A composite image of four men and a woman
Patrick Keogh (from left), Christopher Burns, Morgan Dombroski, Russell Holden and Simon Gash are on trial within the Kalgoorlie District Courtroom.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

The prosecution alleges the enterprise companions knew about plans to mix the ore and defraud FMR Investments of its share.  

Mr Yovich advised the jurors the case hinged on whether or not they believed Mr Keogh’s testimony or that of his former employer, Mr Bartlett.

“If [Mr Keogh] did not [steal the ore], and if you happen to’re happy past an inexpensive doubt, that is the top of it,” Mr Yovich stated.

“Mr Holden could have dedicated no offences, and that is the identical for the opposite co-accused.”

He later added: “If Mr Keogh is acquitted of depend one [the charge of stealing as a servant], everybody goes residence”.

A gold processing plant with large tanks in a remote mining area.
The Greenfields Mill at Coolgardie is operated by FMR Investments.  (Equipped: FMR Sources)

‘Human nature’

Mr Yovich stated there was no proof to help the prosecution case towards Mr Holden.

“There’s a hole … and the state is not any Evel Knievel,” he stated.

Mr Yovich advised the jury to view Mr Holden’s December 16 2020 police interview with the information that he had spent 5 hours in a cell earlier than it started at 7pm.

The court docket additionally heard that his spouse had been arrested that very same day as a result of she was a director of one in all his corporations, however she was later launched with out cost.

State prosecutor Paul Usher used his closing tackle to explain the character of the group’s dealings as “nefarious” and surreptitious”.

Mr Usher spoke briefly on Thursday morning about “monetary achieve” as a “potential motive” for the offending.

“It is human nature to search for a purpose to elucidate why somebody has performed what they’ve performed,” he advised the jury.

“On the proof, it’s open so that you can discover Mr Keogh and Mr Burns had monetary achieve borne out of a chance to make use of the clean-up pile for their very own use.”

Defence attorneys for the remaining  co-accused will make their closing arguments later at this time and tomorrow.

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