Pisasale trial: 'Did she put her hand on your leg?'

LATEST: TELEPHONE intercepts played during Paul Pisasale's extortion trial have revealed barrister Sam Di Carlo told co-accused Yutian Li to give the former-mayor the "girlfriend experience".

The explosive details, including comments that "the next one is free" in reference to Li were this afternoon aired in the Brisbane District Court, where Pisasale is facing two charges of extortion.

The offences allegedly occurred in January, February and March 2017.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, where he allegedly demanded a sum of money from a man named Xin Li, without reasonable cause, with intent to gain a benefit, or cause a detriment to another person, the court heard.

Recordings from Pisasale's phone conversations were played to the jury where the ex-Ipswich mayor talks with Di Carlo about meeting Li.

"Did she put her hand on your leg?" the barrister asks Pisasale in the recording.

"Yeah she did, very nice," Pisasale replied. Di Carlo was then heard laughing loudly.

Di Carlo then tells Pisasale: "I told her to give you the girlfriend experience".

"I don't think she's done it very often," Pisasale replies in the recording played to the court.

Pisasale later says he likes "helping people" and wants to assist Li, who allegedly came to Australia for the man she later found out was married.

Di Carlo later tells Pisasale in the recording referring to Li: " … the next one is free, the next two hours is completely free".

In another call Pisasale told Di Carlo that Li was "in the wrong trade" as she was "just too nice".

In a later recording played to the court, Pisasale phones the alleged victim of the extortion, taxi driver Xin Li, in an effort to recoup money Li spent travelling to Australia from Singapore to be with the man.

"I'm a private investigator," Pisasale says in the recording.

"She just wants to find out the truth otherwise we will be proceeding with court action. She has been very heartbroken and she feels like you've deceived her. If you don't want to do this we will issue Federal Court proceedings. She doesn't want to hurt you. She just wants it all to go away."

He later tells the man he'll be talking to the Australian Government.

"I'll send you a summons to appear in a Sydney court," Pisasale says.

"I'll ring you tomorrow to tell me what lawyer you are using. We are going to the Federal Court. She will be suing you for $200,000.

"She has a good case because she has all the evidence to show where you have cheated her while you were married."

He later tells the taxi driver: "You don't want to upset women … maybe you want to give a little bit of money toward helping her".

In a heated argument between the pair played to the jury the former-mayor goes on to say: "We'll be talking to the Australian Government as well. This is Australia buddy, stop trying to blackmail her. We'll get you exported out of Australia for the way you're taking.

"I'm a very patient man and I know the government and I know the immigration minister."

Yutian Li has also been charged with two counts of extortion but pleaded not guilty this morning.

Solicitor Cameron McKenzie, who is also on trial alongside Pisasale and Li, pleaded not guilty to one count of extortion, allegedly committed on January 15, 2017.

 

EARLIER: FORMER Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale allegedly posed as a phone health surveyor in a ploy to get money from the ex-boyfriend of a Chinese woman he had just met after she found out the man was married, a court has been told.

Pisasale is on trial in the Brisbane District Court, facing two charges of extortion, which allegedly occurred in January, February and March 2017.

He has pleaded not guilty to the offences, where he allegedly demanded a sum of money from a man named Xin Li, without reasonable cause, with intent to gain a benefit, or cause a detriment to another person, the court heard.

The charges came after Pisasale allegedly met co-accused woman Yutian Li, who also pleaded not guilty to two counts of extortion across the same two time periods in late 2017.

The court today heard Li told Pisasale she had met Xin Li, who was a taxi driver in Sydney, and the pair had begun dating.

She later found out he was married with a child and did not have a back injury as he had told her, the jury was today told.

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale (centre) arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale (centre) arrives at the District Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

She allegedly told Pisasale she wanted to "punish him", the jury heard.

Pisasale allegedly called Mr Li and pretended to be a man named George Robinson conducting a health survey, and asked the taxi driver his marital status, whether he had children and owned a house, Crown Prosecutor Sarah Farnden said.

He later phoned the man back and claimed he was a private investigator and allegedly threatened Mr Li, saying he needed to pay $5000-$10,000 to Li to recoup her costs following the investigation into his background.

Pisasale allegedly threatened the taxi driver with "court action" and also told him there was a lot of "evidence" against him and that Li had many "lawyer friends", the jury heard.

Mr Li allegedly told Pisasale he was going to tell the Immigration Department about the contact, the court heard.

Ms Farnden told the jury Pisasale allegedly replied: "That's blackmail" and told Mr Li he "knows the immigration minister".

Pisasale was believed to have been introduced to Li by his barrister friend Sam Di Carlo, according to prosecutors, and had discussed with developer Chris Zenonos meeting her at an apartment.

Melbourne woman Li Yutian. Picture: Adam Armstrong
Melbourne woman Li Yutian. Picture: Adam Armstrong

"There's a bird I made contact with, Angela, and I was going to take her over to the apartment at about three o'clock," Pisasale told Mr Zenonos, the court heard.

That night, Pisasale allegedly phoned Mr Li and posed as a phone surveyor named George Robinson.

He later told Di Carlo of having phoned Mr Li "pretending to do a survey", the court was told.

He said Mr Li had been in involved with Li for two years and that his back was "f***ed."

But Pisasale said he had found out that Li was actually married and "fit as a fiddle", the court heard.

Ms Farnden told the court that in a later phone call, Li allegedly tells Pisasale "you need to be punishing my ex-boyfriend".

Solicitor Cameron McKenzie, who is also on trial alongside Pisasale and Li, pleaded not guilty to one count of extortion, allegedly committed on January 15, 2017.

He is accused of later sending a letter of demand to the taxi driver asking for money to recoup funds Li had paid for the private investigator.

But prosecutors today told the court there was no private investigator but allege Pisasale pretended to be one.

The trial continues.

EARLIER: FORMER veteran mayor of Ipswich Paul Pisasale has pleaded not guilty to two counts of extortion in Brisbane District Court.

The 2017 extortion charge stems from the now-closed Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into Ipswich council that led to 16 people being charged with offences.

Pisasale, 67, was charged with extortion in June 2017 soon after resigning from office in a white robe and socks at a press conference, citing health issues.

It marked the end of a long and hugely popular reign as mayor by the former restaurant owner.

At the height of his political career, Pisasale was re-elected with more than 80 per cent of the vote.

He was first elected to Ipswich council in 1991 and became deputy mayor in 2000.

He was voted in as mayor in 2004 and served four terms.

The CCC alleges Pisasale committed extortion by intending to gain a benefit for co-accused Victorian resident Yutian Li between January and March 2017 and made a demand with a threat to cause detriment to another person, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Another co-accused on the extortion charge is Ipswich solicitor Cameron McKenzie, 37.

Li and McKenzie both pleaded not guilty this morning.

The trial is expected to run for up to two weeks.

Pisasale, wearing a dark suit and with documents under his arm, arrived with his legal counsel at court earlier this morning, where a large media contingent was waiting.



Union boss gives government permission to dump Trad

premium_icon Union boss gives government permission to dump Trad

Government given permission to dump deputy premier

Hospital asks discharged patients to bill healthfund

premium_icon Hospital asks discharged patients to bill healthfund

Bundaberg Hospital asks patients to bill health fun for their care

Bundaberg dentist pushes fluoride case

premium_icon Bundaberg dentist pushes fluoride case

A Bundaberg dentist thinks Bundaberg should have fluoridated water