Sunday, February 28, 2016

Glen McNamara, Roger Rogerson share beers and boxing talk after Jamie Gao killed: court

Two former policemen are accused of carrying out an execution on a Tuesday.

By Thursday, they were drinking beer and rubbing shoulders with a professional boxer and former NRL player.

A group of friends have told a NSW Supreme Court jury how they shared beers with murder accused Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson, two days after they allegedly killed Sydney university student Jamie Gao on May 20, 2014.

Among the group was boxer and former NRL player Garth Wood, who played for South Sydney and Balmain.

Wood rose to fame by beating Anthony Mundine in 2010 after winning reality television series The Contender.

Friend Joe Calamia told the court everything appeared to be "normal" during a drinking session at the Crown Hotel at Revesby on Thursday, May 22.

Mr Calamia said he recalled talking to Mr McNamara about their divorces.

"He seemed perfectly normal to me," Mr Calamia told the court.

"He seemed fine, he was in good spirits," part of his police statement said.

Mr Calamia, a regular drinker with a group who call themselves "The Brains Trust", said Mr Rogerson also seemed "fine".

"Roger seemed fine to me. I just thought it was a normal night. Didn't seem anything out of the ordinary," he said.

Several friends testified about how they regularly drank with Mr Rogerson and that Mr McNamara would join them on the odd occasion.

Security footage shows the two former policemen drinking with a group at the Crown Hotel in the days after Mr Gao's death.

Mr McNamara's defence is that Mr Rogerson shot Mr Gao and that he only helped to dispose of the  body because he was "terrified".  

"Roger Rogerson shot and killed Jamie Gao ... He then threatened Mr McNamara's life," Mr McNamara's barrister Kara Shead told the jury in her opening address.

"Glen McNamara thereafter acted under duress. He has a defence to the charges you have heard the Crown outline," Ms Shead said.

But Mr Rogerson's barrister George Thomas said his client's version of events was "a very different state of the universe".

Mr Thomas said Mr McNamara shot and killed Mr Gao inside unit 803 of Rent-A-Space at Padstow on May 20, 2014.

CCTV footage shows Mr Gao and Mr McNamara entering the storage shed and shutting the door at 1.45pm. They are alone for just over three minutes before Mr Rogerson enters.

Mr Thomas said Mr Rogerson, 76, opened the shed door and saw Mr Gao "dead on the floor with a hand gun lying near him".

On Monday, the court also heard from a former employee of Kennards Hire, who gave evidence about lending a chain block to Mr Rogerson and Mr McNamara on the day Mr Gao was killed.

Jake Bridge said a man wearing a red T-shirt had asked to pay in cash to hire to chain block and that he was with a man wearing a dark coloured T-shirt who walked with a distinct limp.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to murder and supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.

with Louise Hall 

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