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October 19, 2011 - 8:11AM
At least two men involved in a Gold Coast shooting were allegedly peddling fake ecstasy pills to pay off a $50,000 fine imposed by the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang, a court has heard.
But their plan went awry when the buyer, 22-year-old Jarred Blake, pulled out of the deal at the last minute and was shot in the abdomen as he sat in his car at a Runaway Bay boat ramp on July 7, 2009.
He suffered life threatening injuries, but managed to drive to a nearby KFC outlet where he stumbled inside bleeding and collapsed on the floor.
Joshua Paul Thornbury, 27, has been charged with the attempted murder of Mr Blake.
Yesterday, he pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to attempted murder and also to the alternate charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
It is alleged he and an associate, Simon Willis, travelled to the northern rivers district and purchased 12,000 dud ecstasy pills so another associate Luke “Chubbs” Laybutt could on sell the tablets to help pay his debt to the bikie gang.
The handover of 2000 of the pills to Mr Blake was to take place near the boat ramp on Ray Street, and Mr Blake had $17,000 with him, the court heard.
However, when the alleged plan fell apart, Mr Blake was shot in the abdomen by a balaclava-clad gunman, allegedly Mr Thornbury.
Mr Willis was the first person to identify Mr Thornbury as the shooter and yesterday was the first witness to take the stand in the trial, which has been set down for 10 days before Justice Roslyn Atkinson.
Barrister Chris Wilson, for Mr Thornbury, argued Mr Willis had been ordered by members of the Finks to ensure Mr Laybutt’s debt to the motorcycle gang was repaid.
He alleged Mr Willis was promised $5000 of the $50,000 owed should he complete his duty. If not, he risked having his ear sliced off.
However, Mr Willis has so far refused to identify “the boys” who imposed the fine on Mr Laybutt.
“It’s the case isn’t it that you refused to tell police who imposed the debt,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Willis replied: “I won’t say who it was or anything like that.”
Mr Wilson asked, “Who imposed the debt?”
Mr Willis replied: “The people he owed – I don’t remember.”
It was not made clear during the Mr Wilson’s cross-examination how Mr Willis or Mr Thornbury were associated with the Finks.
Mr Wilson later asked, “Did you know Jarred Blake was also associated with the Finks?”
Mr Willis replied, “Mate, it’s the Gold Coast – there’s a lot of them. Probably one third of people are associated with them in some way, shape or form.”
Citing Mr Willis’ initial statement to police, Mr Wilson said he had described Mr Thornbury as a “lovely guy”, whose alleged actions were a “complete astonishment”.
“You weren’t scared of my client,” he said.
“But you were fearful of the consequences from these people if you named them to the police?”
Mr Willis did not answer.
The trial continues.
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