TWO men have confessed to plotting to hold up JDs Sportsbar the day after the Melbourne Cup last year.
Matthew Kamal, 31, and Tekin Ali Saner, 30, each pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit an armed robbery on November 2 last year, as well as stealing a motor vehicle the same day.
In total, Kamal pleaded guilty to nine charges in Ballarat Magistrates Court, and Saner to 17.
Both men were then removed from the dock to enable the committal hearing for Lloyd Anthony Murrell, 41, and Nono Ngaa, 31, to continue.
A Victoria Police member attached to the undercover unit gave evidence yesterday, telling the court how he spoke to Ngaa about the alleged conspiracy to commit an armed robbery while he was working undercover.
He claimed Ngaa admitted to having been on the way to commit an armed robbery at the TAB when two police cars smashed into their vehicle.
He said Ngaa also told him he had cable ties in his pocket and would have tied someone up with them if required.
Ngaa’s defence lawyer, George Traczyk questioned the legality of gathering evidence in such a manner.
But the officer, whose name has been suppressed, denied his role as a covert operative was unlawful or carried out just to get an admission.
“My job is to determine the truth,” the officer said. “I honestly don’t care if I get an admission or not.”
Police informant Detective Senior Constable Rupe Kahlon also gave evidence, saying police believed the men intended to rob either JDs Sportsbar or the Gold Shop “depending on circumstances”.
“We allege that the accused men were planning to commit one or the other,” he said.
Detective Kahlon said police had identified the two Lydiard Street businesses from “a whole lot of TI (telephone intercept) conversations” and “a whole lot of surveillance”.
“There’s a lot of evidence,” he said.
Murrell is currently facing 41 charges and Ngaa 10, but both defence lawyers will make written submissions to have some of the charges struck out.
Mr Traczyk said that if Ngaa was committed to stand trial, he would likely make an application for bail.
Magistrate Michelle Hodgson adjourned the committal hearing to October 30.
Murrell and Ngaa have not yet entered pleas.