Wollongong bikie Baris Esen accused of drug-related kidnapping at Cobbity

An alleged Lone Wolf bikie charged with kidnapping a man while on bail over a shooting incident in Woonona will remain behind bars for at least another month.

Baris Esen failed to secure bail on his most recent charges in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday, despite his family agreeing to put up the title deeds to $700,000 Crown Street business premises as security.

Police allege Baris Esen and his brother Umit – the eldest two sons of disgraced former Wollongong councillor Zeki Esen – were accessories in the daylight shooting of of Nigel Romaniszyn on September 21 last year.

Both brothers were arrested a week later and granted strict conditional bail, with their father agreeing to put up $50,000-a-piece to secure their release.

However, Baris was re-arrested in April over allegations he had help two men detain a drug associate inside a house at Cobbity.

Police documents tendered to court during Esen’s bail application claim the alleged kidnapping incident was sparked by police seizing a large quantity of drugs during a search of the victim’s mother’s house a week earlier.

It is alleged Baris went to the man’s home on April 5 under the pretense of giving him a pair of work boots for a new job he was starting.

However, a short time later two men wearing hoodies over their faces entered the house and held a gun to the back of the victim’s head, forcing him to lay on the ground, police claim.

The victim told police his feet and hands were bound with cable ties and a piece of duct tape put across his mouth. It is alleged Baris sat on the man and said to him “why do you do this to me” before demanding he produce the [(seized) drug package or pay $150,000.

One of the two hooded men allegedly threatened to cut the victim’s toes off with a knife. He was also told he would be “shot” if he went to police, it is alleged.

Before leaving, Baris allegedly told the man to send him a message on Snapchat about whether it would be the money or the drugs.

The man reported the incident to police two days later. Police arrest Baris that evening, allegedly seizing duct tape and bags of cable ties from his vehicle.

In court on Wednesday, defence barrister Carolyn Davenport SC said her client was awaiting surgery for sleep apnea and risked missing the operation if he was remanded in custody.

She also said he had no criminal history and had never failed to appear at court.

However, Magistrate Mark Douglass refused to release Baris, saying he posed an unacceptable risk of committing further crimes if granted bail.

The case will return to court on June 14.

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