Incomplete charges may have contributed to Dimitrious Gargasoulas’ successful bail application the week before he killed six in the Bourke Street massacre.
Incomplete charges may have contributed to Dimitrious Gargasoulas’ successful bail application the week before he killed six in the Bourke Street massacre.

Officer explains how Bourke St massacre killer got bail

There have been tense scenes at the inquest into the Bourke St massacre when a senior detective was asked to explain why he rushed laying charges against a "delusional" criminal who would then go onto kill six people.

Detective Senior Constable Murray Gentner was cross-examined by a barrister acting for the families of the victims of Dimitrious Gargasoulas, who rampaged through central Melbourne in a stolen car on January 20, 2017.

Mr Gentner was in another room at St Kilda Police Station when the after-hours bail hearing began on January 14, 2017.

He was typing up charges for Gargasoulas - based on admissions he had made to him -and believed he was a serious risk of reoffending.

A colleague informed him the bail hearing was going badly and he tried to intervene - but bail was granted and Gargasoulas was set free.

Aine Magee QC asked why Mr Gentner hadn't taken the time to ensure all the charges were ready for the bail hearing.

"Why was there a rush to get a bail application without the complete charges being ready?" she said.

The detective replied it hadn't been rushed "in his mind" and he was clear that he was going upstairs to type the charges and he was to be informed if it looked like bail was possible.

Ms Magee demanded to know "why you didn't ask for 10 or 15 minutes" delay and "why you didn't take the steps to ensure the compete charges were ready".

He told her he believed he was clear about his intent and the action of going upstairs to complete the charges showed more, more serious, charges were imminent.

His answer frustrated Ms Magee.

Footage released by Victoria Poice of Dimitrious Gargasoulas being chased by police.
Footage released by Victoria Poice of Dimitrious Gargasoulas being chased by police.

 

"Just answer my question," she interjected - which caused a rebuke from Coroner Jacqui Hawkins who warned her "it doesn't need to be so heated".

Mr Gentner told the inquest he believed it was clear during the hearing when he told the bail justice of the extra charges and his concerns "so I don't think it would have made a difference" if the charges had been ready or not.

He conceded by the time the hearing began though, the complete charge had not been laid - and agreed with her statement "thorough" preparation for bail hearings was required.

Given that consideration...why couldn't you take 10 minutes and lay all the charges so it was all clear and through in front of the bail justice," Ms Magee said.

Mr Gentner said he had given evidence about what he said at the hearing and believed the bail justice was aware of the serious concerns police held.

She put it to him the bail justice would give evidence that police concerns about Gargasoulas' drug use weren't mentioned until after bail was granted.

"I totally disagree," Mr Gentner said.

Mr Gentner was also asked about a claim Gargasoulas made that there was an "understanding" between them.

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He told the inquest it "was clear" there was no understanding, but did not use the words "delusional" or "fantasy" at the hearing.

Gargasoulas was jailed in February for at least 46 years for the murders of three-month-old Zachary Matthew-Bryant, Matthew Si, 33, Jess Mudie, 23, Thalia Hakin, 10, Bhavita Patel, 33, and Yosuke Kanno, 25.

The inquest continues.

andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au


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