Home NewsAustralia Defence lawyers grill detective as million-dollar Kalgoorlie gold theft trial continues

Defence lawyers grill detective as million-dollar Kalgoorlie gold theft trial continues

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Defence lawyers grill detective as million-dollar Kalgoorlie gold theft trial continues

The top of the WA Police Gold Stealing Detection Unit has been grilled by defence attorneys over a $90,000 cash path throughout the District Courtroom trial of 5 individuals accused of a million-dollar gold swindle in Western Australia’s Goldfields. 

Detective Sergeant Chris King, who has been a police officer for 32 years and spent the previous six years with the gold squad, returned to the witness stand on day eight of the trial to face cross-examination from 5 separate defence groups.

Essentially the most severe costs are towards FMR Investments basic supervisor Patrick Rhyan Keogh, 42, and former Greenfields Mill supervisor Christopher Robert Burns, 76, who’ve each pleaded not responsible to stealing as a servant and numerous different costs.

The costs 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 gold costs on the time the gold ore had an estimated worth of $1.17 million.

A split image showing four men and a woman, all middle aged or older and all apparently heading towards court.
Patrick Ryhan Keogh (from left), Christopher Robert Burns, Morgan Whitney Dombroski, Russell Wilson Holden and Simon Leslie Gash are on trial within the Kalgoorlie District Courtroom over an alleged gold swindle.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

Mr Burns’ lawyer Tom Percy KC questioned Detective Sergeant King about whether or not there was any proof linking his shopper to alleged money funds to a subordinate.

“We imagine that $90,000 was delivered,” Detective Sergeant King stated.

“The textual content messages from Burns to [Simon] Gash would lead me to imagine that cash was delivered.”

Pressed by Mr Percy, he admitted there was no paper path apart from the SMS messages.

“I did not discover a withdrawal of $90,000,” Detective Sergeant King stated.

“It did not have to return out of their account.

“That is doable [a cash repository] … however we did not discover any proof of that.” 

A police detective in a suit leaving court after testifying at trial.
Detective Sergeant Chris King leaves the Kalgoorlie courthouse after testifying.(ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

Police interviews performed to jury

Earlier, the courtroom heard separate interviews that police performed with Simon Leslie Gash, 57, and his enterprise accomplice, Russell Wilson Holden, 51, on the day they had been arrested on December 16, 2020.

The pair, who’re combating cash laundering and fraud costs as a part of the trial, had been requested related questions throughout the interview about their relationship with the previous basic supervisor and mill supervisor at FMR Investments.

“We have been investigating your corporations … we have gone again the final couple of years,” Detective Sergeant King advised Mr Holden throughout his 17-minute interview that was performed in courtroom.

Mr Holden couldn’t say why his firm Aqua Alluvial Pty Ltd had made funds to Mr Keogh and Mr Burns.

Detectives confirmed him a spreadsheet police discovered throughout a search of his workplace, which had the initials PK and CB listed alongside funds allegedly made by Aqua Alluvial Pty Ltd.

“Who’s PK?” Detective King requested.

“I do not know,” Mr Holden stated.

Mr Holden was advised by police they knew the initials represented Mr Keogh, after which requested why a cost was made to his checking account.

The courtroom has heard that Aqua Alluvial Pty Ltd paid $590,411 into an account generally known as Clintsoldmate Pty Ltd, a non-public firm during which Mr Keogh was the only real director.

“Are you able to clarify that?” Detective Sergeant King requested.

“No, I can not,” Mr Holden stated. 

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)

Mr Gash advised police throughout his interview that he had solely met Mr Keogh as soon as, and that he thought Mr Keogh was a “advisor” at Greenfields Mill.

“I’ve solely met Patrick Keogh as soon as,” Mr Gash stated throughout the 22-minute interview performed in courtroom.

“I met him on the ROM [run of mine] pad.

“I had nothing to do with him in any respect, besides when it was time to present him some cash.”

The courtroom has heard Mr Keogh later transferred the money from Aqua Alluvial Pty Ltd into a private checking account he shares along with his spouse Stacey.

Detectives requested Mr Gash why the switch was not finished instantly.

“I do not know … that is the best way he [Mr Keogh] wished it finished,” Mr Gash stated.

‘Do not ask questions’

In earlier proof, the courtroom heard Morgan Whitney Dombroski, 33, was handed an envelope with $90,000 money inside and advised “do not ask questions” by Mr Burns.

Ms Dombroski was processing superintendent at Greenfields Mill after being promoted from mill foreman in November 2020.

The courtroom heard she was arrested at work on January 13, 2021 — the identical day she was interviewed by detectives at Kalgoorlie Police Station.

A woman brushes her hair with her hand as she walks into a court trial.
Morgan Dombroski labored for FMR Investments from July 2014 to January 2019. (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

“He handed me over cash … I did not depend it,” she stated throughout her 40-minute police interview which was performed in courtroom.

“He stated ‘do not ask questions’ … I simply went together with it.”

“He [Mr Burns] fingers you a giant wad of money and you do not query it?” Detective Sergeant King requested.

“I simply did what I used to be advised, I trusted Chris [Burns].”

Ms Dombroski advised the courtroom that she knew that ore from Aqua Alluvial Pty Ltd and FMR Investments was being mixed within the milling marketing campaign and that “on the time it appeared legit.”

“No matter Paddy [Mr Keogh] says goes,” she stated.

“No matter Paddy [Mr Keogh] and Chris [Burns] advised me to do, I did.” 

A man walks into a police station for a court trial.
Christopher Robert Burns, 76, was the supervisor of the Greenfields Mill when the alleged theft occurred.   (ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas)

She described Mr Burns as a “superb pal” and mentor who “taught me every thing I do know”. 

The courtroom heard she spent the majority of the money on residence enhancements, together with a brand new air conditioner, and for day-to-day bills whereas she took six months off work along with her younger son. 

Below cross-examination, Detective Sergeant King advised the courtroom police didn’t get receipts from Ms Dombroski to find out what she had spent the cash on.  

The courtroom heard police discovered $5,050 in $50 notes in a secure in Ms Dombroski’s bed room once they executed a search warrant on the day she was arrested.

Detectives requested throughout her interview if she determined to not financial institution the money as a result of she was making an attempt to cover it.

“I put it within the secure and that was it … that is [$5,050] all I’ve received left,” she stated.

The trial earlier than Decide Christopher Stevenson continues.  

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