A Canberra builder who allegedly threatened a police officer and his partner, while also making homophobic insults, was denied bail on the day of his son’s birthday.
Court documents reveal police were legally listening to phone conversations to monitor FM One Industries director Mohammed Nchouki.
Mr Nchouhki had been charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, using a carriage service to threaten to cause serious harm, threatening or intimidating a witness and making an intentional threat to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
On 23 May, police heard the 40-year-old from Calwell speak to one of his brothers.
“Brother, you got to understand that f–ken dog who is listening to us right now, that [police officer] … I’m going to find his wife and I’m going to f–k her, you understand?” police allege Mr Nchouki said.
“You know I’m talking to you f–ken gay c–t.”
In a call to another brother later that day, Mr Nchouki allegedly said the police officer “listens to all my phone calls one by one”.
Police allege Mr Nchouki knew they were listening to him and that the police officer he named would hear his comments. He was arrested on Tuesday (1 June).
He applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday (4 June). His sister and wife testified about the hardship that would come to their family and his business if he was retained in custody.
His barrister John Purnell SC pleaded not guilty on his behalf, saying all the charges would be “vigorously defended”.
Mr Purnell said his client had put on a display of “bravado” when he was speaking to his brothers, and his words could not be regarded as a threat.
He said there was no evidence Mr Nchouki had intimidated witnesses.
“These charges are doomed to failure,” he said.
But prosecutor Patrick Dixon alleged Mr Nchouki was under a reasonable appreciation that his phone was being listened to by police, as he allegedly directed statements to the police officer.
“This is not bravado. This is an obsessive, uncontrolled, vindictive rant,” he said.
He said it would be understandable that someone would be afraid when hearing the alleged comments.
Magistrate James Stewart ultimately refused bail, saying the special or exceptional circumstances required for Mr Nchouki to be released had not been established.
“It is tragic that it is one of his children’s birthday’s today,” he said.
The court was packed with Mr Nchouki’s supporters and some began to cry when bail was refused, while Mr Nchouki himself started sighing loudly.
“I love you,” he said to someone in court before he was taken away.
The matters were adjourned to 16 July.
He was already on bail for other alleged offences when he was charged with these fresh matters.