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Multiple murder plots over $300,000 drug debt 'frustrated' by SA Police, court hears

ABC News (AU) logo ABC News (AU) 19/12/2022
South Australia's Supreme Court heard that three separate murder plots were hatched by a bikie gang but all were prevented by police. (ABC News: Eugene Boisvert) © Provided by ABC News (AU) South Australia's Supreme Court heard that three separate murder plots were hatched by a bikie gang but all were prevented by police. (ABC News: Eugene Boisvert)

A senior bikie felt his position was "under threat" over his handling of a $300,000 drug bill, so he conspired to kill the debtor – but all three attempts were "frustrated" by police, a court has heard.

The South Australian Supreme Court was today told Pauly Leonard Harris was not a member of the bikie gang, but was enlisted by the club to carry out one of three plots to kill in Adelaide's east in May 2021.

The 27-year-old is charged with conspiracy to murder, and today applied for home detention bail.

Taylor Johansen, for Harris, told Justice Laura Stein that her client could only be linked to a stolen car being driven in the vicinity of where he believed the alleged victim resided.

"Ultimately, at its highest, he is in a vehicle near the victim's address," she submitted.

"He's not alleged to be, on the prosecution case, involved in the planning. He's been drawn in, on the day, to drive the vehicle to the address."

DNA and CCTV link accused, prosecutors allege 

But the prosecutor told the court, police had the group under constant surveillance after intercepting messages on the encrypted app AN0M – created by US and Australian law enforcement to monitor illegal activity.

She said a senior bikie made numerous attempted over 12 months to collect the $300,000 drug debt, but had failed.

"His role [in the club] was being questioned by other senior club members," the prosecutor said.

"The fact that he had not dealt with [the debtor] was seen as a weakness. His position at the club was being threatened and there was a significant amount of friction at the leadership of the club."

The court heard Harris was allegedly involved in one of three attempts to kill the victim.

The prosecutor said police had been watching the interactions between the group, which included following a stolen vehicle that was allegedly picked up by Harris at Seaton.

She submitted he travelled to an eastern suburbs home with another man to collect a pistol before moving on to a park opposite where he believed the target to be residing.

"They were observed acting suspiciously, to be very interested in [the property] and were wary of passing vehicles," she told Justice Stein.

She said a marked police vehicle with a spotlight patrolled the area, spooking both men, who abandoned the stolen car they arrived in and fled in a taxi.

The court heard both men were linked to the steering wheel of the stolen car by DNA, their belongings were inside and CCTV from the taxi captured them in the aftermath.

The prosecutor said the senior Comanchero used AN0M to message an associate the following day to ask: "how hot was that ute?"

"They allegedly alluded to the stupidity [of the two men] to leave items that belonged to them in the car," she said.

The court also heard Harris had an extensive criminal history, but Ms Johansen submitted he would be on the strictest form of bail if it was granted.

Justice Stein will decide on bail later this week.

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