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Roger Rogerson claims Jamie Gao was dead before he entered storage unit

Jamie Gao: Allegedly killed after a drug deal went wrong.

Jamie Gao: Allegedly killed after a drug deal went wrong. Photo: Facebook

Disgraced former detective Roger Rogerson will argue the Sydney university student he is accused of murdering was dead before the former cop had even entered the storage unit where the "execution-style" murder took place.

Dramatic new details of the case against Mr Rogerson, 72, and fellow former cop Glen McNamara emerged in a Sydney court on Friday where the pair appeared charged over the murder in May of Jamie Gao, 20, at Padstow.

During a bail application lodged by Mr McNamara, 55, the court was told that both men were allegedly motivated to kill Mr Gao by a desire to rip him off in a large-scale drug deal. Crown prosecutor Christopher Maxwell, QC, told the court a level of planning had gone into the pair's "execution-style hit".

Roger Rogerson at the time of his arrest.

Roger Rogerson at the time of his arrest. Photo: Nick Moir

Security footage was played showing Mr McNamara and Mr Gao entering a storage shed on May 20, where they were joined minutes later by Mr Rogerson.

Footage from half an hour later shows Mr McNamara and Mr Rogerson dragging out a large grey surfboard bag, which the Crown alleges contained Mr Gao's body.

Mr McNamara's barrister, Ian Lloyd, QC, told the court that when his client entered the storage shed, "something may have occurred in that unit that he did not expect to occur".

He said if the pair had intended to "rip off" Mr Gao of three kilograms of the drug ice, as the Crown alleges, then as two former policemen they were doing it in a "very amateurish way".

Mr Lloyd said that Mr McNamara was "obviously involved in the disposal of the body" but that did not mean his client pulled the trigger.

"The Crown can't say with any certainty who fired the shot or what was intended with one or other of the accused," Mr Lloyd said.

But outside the court, Mr Rogerson's barrister, George Thomas, said he would argue his client was not even present when the alleged shooting took place.

"What people do not know, and what you people should understand, is that Roger Rogerson entered the storage shed four minutes after McNamara and the deceased," Rogerson's barrister, George Thomas, said.

"The man was already dead when Rogerson got to that storage shed".

The Crown, however, argued that Mr McNamara and Mr Rogerson were part of a "joint-criminal enterprise" and had undertaken preparations to kill Mr Gao in the days before the alleged murder. Mr Rogerson was inside the unit for six minutes, the court was told.

Mr Maxwell said Mr McNamara allegedly first met up with Mr Gao in January where arrangements were made for the university student to supply the former officer with three kilograms of the drug ice.

In May, the Crown alleges, Mr Rogerson obtained the keys for the storage shed at Padstow.

The day before Mr Gao's death, Mr McNamara is seen on security footage taking his boat out of a storage facility at Taren Point. The court heard this was later used by both men to dump Mr Gao's body at sea off Cronulla.

On the day they met Mr Gao at Padstow, 500 metres from the storage shed, Mr McNamara is shown driving a station wagon which, the Crown alleges, was used because it could easily carry a body. 

Mr Maxwell said Mr McNamara also ensured he had a large surfboard bag in the car. "If it was going to be a drug transaction, why has he got that there?," he asked.

Three kilograms of ice were found by police in the same station wagon parked near Mr McNamara's Cronulla home, the court heard.

The magistrate Les Mabbutt denied Mr McNamara bail on Friday, despite Mr Lloyd arguing his client had no criminal record, would put up $580,000 in surety and abide by conditions that amounted to house arrest".

Mr Rogerson, who hobbled into court from the holding cells in the same clothes he had when he was arrested back in May, withdrew his bail application moments before it was due to be heard.

The case against both men returns to court next month.

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