A NORLANE man was committed to stand trial today on charges of trying to hire a hitman to kill the husband of a friend.
Magistrate Stephen Myall ruled there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict Wayne Michael Cherry of single counts of conspiracy and incitement to murder.
Mr Cherry, 59, formally pleaded not guilty to the charges and he was bailed to appear at a directions hearing in the Supreme Court later this month. Police allege that Mr Cherry conspired with Sherie Ann Leak, 40, of Corio, to have Ricardo Leak murdered in July last year.
Ms Leak has already pleaded not guilty to the same charges and will also stand trial in the Supreme Court.
The undercover officer, known only as ‘Nikolai’ told the committal hearing in Geelong Magistrates’ Court today that he had several meetings with Mr Cherry at a cafe, a service station and in a car where the conversations were secretly recorded.
Nikolai said a price of $25,000 for the “hit” was discussed and Mr Cherry told him Ms Leak wanted her husband out of the way. Defence counsel Philip Skehan suggested that Mr Cherry never used the word “dead” but Nikolai said there was no doubt that Mr Leak was to be killed. Earlier this week it was alleged in documents before the court that Ms Leak took out a $500,000 life insurance policy shortly before negotiations began with Nikolai.
Police claim Ms Leak suggested her husband could be run over and Mr Cherry directed the hitman to an accident “black spot”. The documents state at a final meeting Ms Leak said she would get a $1200 deposit and confirmed the plan was to go ahead.
“What has to be done, has to be done,” she allegedly said.
Witness Jamie Miller told the court today that Mr Cherry and Ms Leak were friends and behaved like an old married couple, arguing all the time. He said they appeared to argue about having Mr Leak killed. Mr Miller said he was told by Ms Leak that she wanted her husband killed.
“She wanted him fixed up. Out of the way,” he said.