SPECIAL Operations Group members have detailed the dramatic arrest of four men who were allegedly conspiring to commit armed robberies at two prominent Ballarat businesses.
JDs Sportsbar and the Gold Shop on Lydiard Street were said to be the targets of the alleged plot, which was to be carried out on November 2 last year – the day after the Melbourne Cup.
Referred to only as Operator 90 and Operator 55, the officers gave evidence in the committal hearing in Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday.
Lloyd Anthony Murrell, 41, Matthew Kamal, 31, Tekin Ali Saner, 30, and Nono Ngaa, 31, stand accused of conspiring to commit the two armed robberies, and again appeared together in the dock surrounded by several police officers.
Operator 55 told the court he’d been given the names “Lloyd Murrell”, “Nono Ngaa” and “Kamal” prior to the arrests in Canadian Lakes Boulevard on November 2, and admitted receiving information from the state surveillance unit up until the final minute.
Operator 90 said that four unmarked police cars and up to 15 armed police officers made the arrests.
He said Ngaa and Murrell were among those travelling in a Subaru when it collided with three police cars before finally coming to rest.
Operator 90 said Murrell and Ngaa had to be arrested using force, and admitted kicking Murrell in the upper body at one point.
“I couldn’t tell you (if the kick struck Murrell’s face),” he said.
“He (Murrell) was walking with purpose towards us.
“It would’ve taken too long to get capsicum spray out.”
Counsel for Ngaa, George Traczyk questioned Operator 90’s witness statement, which the police officer admitted was made about six weeks after the arrests were carried out.
Mr Traczyk asked how Operator 90 could have remembered specific details, including about a gun said to have been seen in Ngaa’s lap.
“When you’re in close proximity to someone who’s got a gun, you remember it,” Operator 90 said. “When you go to arrest someone and you’re alerted that there’s a gun, it is a sticking point in your memory.”
In total, Murrell stands charged with 41 offences, Kamal with 17, Saner with 30, and Ngaa with 10.
Evidence has also been heard regarding allegations that Ngaa and another man, armed with guns, entered an occupied Sunshine home on October 26 last year and stole $50,000 worth of goods.
The committal hearing before magistrate Michelle Hodgson continues.