Two brothers allegedly involved in a bikie shooting at Woonona last month are the sons of disgraced former Wollongong councillor Zeki Esen.
Umit Esen and his younger brother Baris, both of whom are said to be patched-up members of the Lone Wolf outlaw motorcycle gang, stand accused of being accessories after the fact in the daylight shooting of Nigel Romaniszyn on September 21.
Romaniszyn was left blind in one eye after being shot in the face outside a Joanne Street home belonging to fellow Lone Wolf member Tyson Bayley.
Police allege Romaniszyn and Bayley were known to each other through the club and had been involved in an ongoing dispute, prompting Bayley to invite his foe to the house that day to “physically” sort out their differences.
Romaniszyn was shot in front of Baris and Umit shortly after arriving, police said.
Despite his injuries, Romaniszyn drove to a friend’s house in nearby Mountain Avenue before contacting Triple 0.
He was airlifted to hospital and underwent surgery.
Meantime, Umit, Baris and Bayley got into Umit’s car and drove from the scene.
They remained at large until handing themselves into police later that week.
Baris was granted strict conditional bail in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday, with Zeki Esen agreeing to put up $50,000 to secure his son’s release.
Zeki, who was in court with other relatives to support his son’s application, was one of several Labor councillors implicated in the infamous 2008 ICAC investigation into Wollongong City Council, which resulted in all councillors being sacked.
The ICAC found Zeki, among others, had engaged in corrupt conduct during his time in office.
He faced criminal charges of misleading the ICAC inquiry however was found not guilty after a hearing in 2010.
In court on Wednesday, prosecutors opposed Baris’ bail application, claiming he presented a risk to the community and the safety of the victim due to the seriousness of the offence and his alleged link to the Lone Wolf OMCG.
However, defence barrister Carolyn Davenport, SC, claimed the case against her client was not a strong one, saying his mere presence at the house when the shooting occurred did not meet the elements of the offence.
“There’s no evidence he knew what was about to transpire,” she said.
As part of his bail, Baris must report to police daily, live with his parents in Coniston, abide by a nighttime curfew, not associate with any prosecution witnesses or Lone Wolf members and surrender his passport.
The case returns to court on November 23.