16 March 2022

Kidnap trial hears woman allegedly threatened with ketamine-filled needle

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

Samuel Carrasco, 25, is on trial in the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A trial has begun against a man accused of kidnapping his short-term partner, during which he allegedly threatened her with a ketamine-filled needle and told her to drive him to Yass.

Samuel Carrasco, a 25-year-old with the word “king”, as well as a picture of a crown tattooed on his neck, pleaded not guilty when his judge-alone trial began in the ACT Supreme Court on Tuesday (15 March).

In Crown Prosecutor Soraya Saikal-Skea’s opening submissions, she alleged the kidnapping began after the complainant picked up Carrasco from Ainslie Village and drove him to the Australian War Memorial on 16 May 2021.

In the complainant’s recorded interview with police, which was played to the court, she said she wanted to break up with Carrasco and take him back to his home. However, he didn’t want to end their relationship or get out of her car.

She alleged he “flipped” and began screaming and yelling at her. He allegedly told her to drive to Telstra Tower, but once there, he again refused to get out of her car.

He allegedly told her he wanted her to drive him to Yass so he could “get $5000 and just leave”.

She said he didn’t tell her what he wanted the money for, how he’d get it.

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Prosecutor Saikal-Skea alleged Carrasco held an object against the complainant’s neck. She said the object felt like a syringe, and he said it was filled with ketamine.

The complainant said she did what she could to “subdue” Carrasco.

She drove towards Queanbeyan, stopped at a service station and bought two drinks. Using the complainant’s phone, Carrasco allegedly began messaging her mother before police found them at Oaks Estate Road.

Two of the police officers who had been called to the scene told the court that when they arrived, the complainant was crying and “very distraught”.

“She was physically shaking and she was stuttering her words,” one said.

While neither could remember exactly what she told them, one officer said she had intimated that she had been held against her will and something had been pressed against her neck.

But one officer admitted no needle had been found at the scene, and when Carrasco was searched, they hadn’t found any items of interest on him.

Body camera footage of Carrasco’s arrest was played to the court, in which, when confronted with the allegations, he said: “I don’t even have a needle.”

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His lawyer, Edward Chen from Legal Aid, said there was no evidence a needle, ketamine or anything similar had been found on his client or in the complainant’s car, nor was there any evidence of injuries.

He said Carrasco was accused of demanding they drive to Yass, but the pair had “inexplicably” gone to Queanbeyan, which was in “entirely the wrong direction”.

Mr Chen also said she could have sought safety when they stopped at the service station, but instead chose to return to the car.

He said his client did plead guilty to an attempt to blackmail the complainant’s mother and it was not in dispute that he sent some of the messages she received.

Carrasco pleaded not guilty to charges of detaining a person with the intention of holding them to ransom, an alternative charge of making a demand with a threat to endanger safety, and a charge of assault.

Acting Justice Peter Berman will hear closing submissions on Wednesday (16 March).

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