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Friday, January 21, 2022

Stuart MacGill kidnap accused granted bail

A man accused of orchestrating a violent kidnap ordeal that left former Australian Test cricketer Stuart MacGill traumatised has been granted bail.

Police allege the spin bowler was in April forced into a car, taken to a remote location and held for an hour, before he was dumped in Sydney’s west.

MacGill was assaulted and threatened with a gun, and was so frightened that he waited almost a week to go to police, they say.

Son Minh Nguyen, 42, was arrested in dawn raids in May, and is charged with knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, taking and detaining a person in company with the intent to get advantage occasioning actual bodily harm, and being an accessory after the kidnapping.

He is also charged with possessing prohibited weapons – a gel blaster gun and nunchucks.

In the Supreme Court on Thursday, Nguyen’s barrister and the crown prosecutor agreed he could spend two years in jail awaiting trial if not released on bail, with delays to the court system exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Securing a trial before the end of 2022 would be “optimistic”, defence counsel Hament Dhanji said.

In delivering her judgment, Justice Julia Lonergan accepted the Crown’s case was not particularly strong, but rejected the argument it was weak.

“Knowingly (to) direct activities of a criminal group can attract a maximum period of imprisonment of 15 years and take and detain in company … can attract a maximum period of imprisonment of 25 years,” she said.

“These are very serious charges.”

However, due to a combination of factors – particularly the delay to any trial – bail was justified, she said.

Nguyen must report daily to police and can only leave the house for a handful of reasons.

A security deposit of $430,000 must also be paid and his passport surrendered to police.

Nguyen will face court again on August 26.


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