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Ex-Bandidos Centro president George Bejat and sergeant-at-arms Zivko Stojakovic released on bail over extortion charges
FORMER Bandidos Centro chapter president George Bejat cried “I’m innocent’’ as he walked from a Brisbane court on bail over allegations he and his housemate extorted a celebrity hairdresser.
Bejat, 27, and former Bandidos sergeant-at-arms Zivko Stojakovic, 27, were granted bail by magistrate John McGrath today after they were last week charged with extortion over their part in an alleged bikie racket in June, July and September last year.
The pair were arrested at their Fortitude Valley home. Thirteen other accused gang members and associates were also arrested in police raids at Logan, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The duo today left Brisbane Magistrates Court with another former Bandido gang member, Grigori Kossian, who bolted from the court’s front doors as his mates strolled out wearing the clothes they were arrested in.
Police alleged the former bikies were hired by a building company to collect outstanding debts from Brisbane hairdresser Fadi Haddad after he was late to pay them for fitting out a hairdressing salon on the Gold Coast.
The court heard Mr Haddad told police he was “tardy’’ in repaying the work done because it was of “poor quality’’.
Mr McGrath granted bail on numerous grounds, including on the basis of questions raised about the credibility of Mr Haddad as a witness given his own criminal history
“I’m of the opinion the defendants may be convicted, they may not, it is impossible to go beyond that not having seen Mr Haddad give evidence,’’ he said.
Police prosecutor Sgt Adrian Lang opposed bail on the grounds the applicants would endanger the welfare of the public and be a risk of interfering with witnesses.
Barrister Michael Byrne QC said both Bejat and Stojakovic had minimal criminal history and resigned from the Bandidos through lawyer Peter Shields in October 2013.
Mr Byrne said six months had passed since the duo committed the alleged offences and there had been no evidence of any interference with witnesses.
The pair were in a “show cause’’ situation because of their alleged association with a criminal organisation under anti-bikie legislation.
The court heard Bejat and Stojakovic owned and directed two companies in Brisbane, including a tattoo parlour on Milton’s Park Rd cafe strip.
The pair will reappear for committal call-over on April 28.
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