A Mooroopna man is accused of threatening a man with a gun and playing a part when a second man was threatened with a gun in a small Goulburn Valley town in May.
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Nathan Babarovich, 33, unsuccessfully applied for bail at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court.
He is facing charges of making a threat to kill, reckless conduct endangering death, two counts of assault with a weapon, making a threat to inflict serious injury, reckless conduct endangering serious injury, and being a prohibited person possessing a firearm.
He is also charged with theft of a vehicle and dealing with property suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
Police allege Mr Babarovich and a co-accused man followed a ute in a stolen Volkswagen Golf, flashing their lights at it and getting it to pull over in Toolamba about 12.30am on May 6.
Prosecution court documents allege when the driver pulled over, Mr Babarovich — who was wearing a balaclava — got out and put the barrel of a sawn-off shotgun he was carrying against the ute driver’s head and said “I’m going to f****** kill you, find out where you live and run through your house”.
He then hit the man in the jaw with the butt of the gun before rifling through his vehicle saying “Where is it? I’ll see you again soon”, the court document said.
Soon after, the pair went to a house where the co-accused is alleged to have pointed the gun at another man and asked if he knew a certain person, saying “you better not be lying to us”.
Police said Mr Babarovich was standing beside him at the time.
The prosecution said police had not confirmed the motive for the two incidents.
The co-accused was arrested at his Shepparton home by heavily armed Special Operations Group police at 5.50pm on May 17.
Police allege he phoned Mr Babarovich before surrendering to police.
The stolen Volkswagen Golf was also found at the co-accused’s house.
Police allege that after the phone call, Mr Babarovich was seen leaving his house and dumping a plastic petrol container that was covered in shotgun pellet holes, which police say was used as a makeshift target.
When Special Operations Group police arrested Mr Babarovich at 6.40pm at his Mooroopna home, $4450 in cash was also found.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Costello from Shepparton Crime Investigation Unit told the court the gun had not been found and police believed Mr Babarovich discarded it after he received the phone call from his co-accused.
He opposed bail, saying he believed Mr Babarovich would try to get witnesses to remove their statements.
He also told the court he believed the cash found at the house was the proceeds of crime.
Answering questions from the defence barrister, Mr Babarovich’s mother told the court she had paid her son $4000 in cash for concreting jobs he had done at her property.
She also said she could put up a $20,000 surety for her son.
The woman also spoke of heart issues her son had, as well as issues he had with using a CPAP machine for sleep apnoea in prison.
Mr Babarovich’s barrister Liam Dogger told the court his client was contesting all the charges.
He said there was another explanation for the cash found at the house, and there was no evidence he knew the car had been stolen.
He also said the two gun-related charges were only supported by the evidence of one witness each.
However, magistrate Marita Altman said for a bail application she was able to rely on the evidence of the two victims who said they knew Mr Babarovich.
Mr Dogger said mitigating factors for the release of his client on bail included the surety, availability of treatment by the Court Integrated Services Program, family support, the availability of work and the fact the co-accused was still in custody.
Prosecutor Sergeant Sean Walsh, however, argued that the charges were extremely serious.
“It’s a threat to kill a person while in possession of a firearm,” he said.
Ms Altman denied bail, remanding Mr Babarovich in custody until his next court appearance later this month.
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