Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Roger Rogerson tells court he entered storage unit to dispense ‘fatherly advice’ to Jamie Gao

Jamie Gao
DISGRACED detective Roger Rogerson claims he entered the storage unit where drug dealer Jamie Gao was shot dead merely to dispense “fatherly advice”, a court has heard.

During a failed bail application for the 73-year-old yesterday, Central Local Court was told of conversations between Rogerson and his wife Anne that had been recorded while he is on remand at Silverwater prison.

Rogerson and his co-accused, ­fellow former police officer Glen McNamara, are charged with shooting Gao dead on May 20 this year, in an execution-style murder over a botched drug deal ­involving almost 3kg of ice.

Jamie Gao, 20, was murdered and his body dumped at sea.

In the recorded conversations, captured after Rogerson had been behind bars for a few weeks, he tells his wife that he believed McNamara and Gao had been in the storage unit for more than 10 minutes when he entered and he thought his friend may be having troubles with the young drug dealer.

“They’d been in there a fair while, I thought I’d go over and see what’s happening,” he told Anne Rogerson in the recorded conversation on June 24. ‘‘I thought I might be able to give him a bit of fatherly advice.”

McNamara was also ­refused bail earlier this month, and the applications of both men have seen the court play CCTV footage, ­including images of the pair dragging something from the Padstow storage unit.

Gao’s body was found in the sea off Cronulla Beach several days after he was last seen going inside the storage space which had no lighting or electricity.

Rogerson, who offered a $1.5 million surety for his conditional freedom, watched the proceedings on the court videolink and took notes during submissions of Crown Prosecutor Christopher Maxwell QC and his counsel George Thomas.

The court heard Rogerson told his wife “things change ... we can do things” when ­discussing his prospective ­release on bail, with a ­Supreme Court trial likely to be at least 18 months away.

Mr Thomas claimed it is a “weak prosecution case” and that “there was enough time for a killing to take place in the absence of my client”.

He also said, while conceding Rogerson “assisted” in the removal of Gao’s body from the storage space, it hadn’t been ruled out by police that the murdered man could have pulled the gun first, leading McNamara to act in self defence.

Magistrate Les Mabbutt said it was a “strong” prosecution case, “underpinned” by CCTV footage, and that the “unacceptable risk” posed by Rogerson couldn’t be mitigated by the strict conditions offered, which would have placed him virtually under house arrest.

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