An attempted murder trial has heard a man was shot in the face and ended up in a medically induced coma because he was allegedly suspected of being a pedophile.
The jury trial of 24-year-old Sugimatatihuna Bernard Gabriel Mena, 24-year-old Bradley Joe Roberts and 25-year-old Rebecca Dulcie Parlov began in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday (2 August).
In Crown Prosecutor Trent Hickey’s opening address, he said police learned a man had arrived at Calvary Hospital on the morning of 11 March 2021 with gunshot wounds to his arm, abdomen and face.
He was in a critical condition with life-threatening injuries and had to be put into a coma before being transferred to the Canberra Hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries, including removing a bullet from his abdomen and bullet fragments from his jaw. He didn’t wake up until a week later.
Mr Hickey expected a doctor would tell jurors the victim was incredibly fortunate the gunshot wound to his head wasn’t fatal.
He said in the early hours of 11 March, Ms Parlov allegedly messaged the resident of a home in Spence, where the shooting later took place, and asked if she could meet up with her and Mr Roberts.
The resident took the victim to the alleged meeting where Mr Roberts reportedly told him that ‘Sugi’, who the Crown claims is Mr Mena, was “going to whack” him because there was a rumour he was a “kiddie fiddler”.
Afterwards, Ms Parlov allegedly repeatedly called or messaged the resident. On one call, the resident said words to the effect of, “He’s a good bloke; he’s not a kiddie fiddler”.
She and the victim were at her home when Ms Parlov allegedly told her, “We’ve stopped. We’re coming in”.
The three accused allegedly approached the house, and when the resident opened her door, Ms Parlov and Mr Roberts allegedly barged their way inside and went towards the victim in the kitchen.
It is alleged that then Mr Mena arrived with a sawn-off .22 rifle and shot the victim in the stomach.
Mr Hickey alleged he reloaded, said something about the victim being a “kiddie fiddler”, then pointed the rifle at the man’s face and shot him again.
The resident began screaming and the trio allegedly left.
The victim called a friend who dropped him off at Calvary Hospital. He walked into the ER with a towel over his face and a shirt wrapped around his arm.
Mr Hickey said the resident stayed behind and cleaned up the house, including putting blood-stained towels in the washing machine.
He said she was charged with destroying evidence, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in December 2021 but was given a discount in her sentencing as she agreed to give evidence at this trial.
Mr Mena is charged with attempted murder and its alternative charge of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm and committing an act endangering life.
He is also charged with aggravated burglary along with Mr Roberts and Ms Parlov. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Barrister James Sabharwahl, appearing for Mr Mena, said the issues for the 14 jurors included whether his client was with the other two accused at the Spence house, as well as if the prosecution had proved it was Mr Mena who shot the victim.
“Identification is a pretty fragile issue,” he said.
Keegan Lee, the barrister for Ms Parlov, said the evidence “will not be as clear cut as the Crown prosecution has suggested”.
He also said the credibility of the victim and the resident “is an issue”.
Lastly, Mr Roberts’ barrister Mary Keaney said there was no reliable evidence that her client was at the resident’s home when the victim was shot.
The trial is held before Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson and is estimated to run for seven days.