Bail for alleged taxi rammer


By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Doveton man accused of ramming a taxi cab as well as assaulting and stealing from the cabbie has been granted bail.

Julian Zagarella, 30, faced a long list of allegations at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court – many of which were in dispute, arguable and triable, according to his lawyer.

They included multiple car thefts, criminal damage of other vehicles, disqualified driving, a firearm offence, reckless conduct endangering serious injury as well as several counts of shoplifting pies and other food, the court heard.

According to a police remand brief, Zagarella allegedly refused to pay a $16.80 taxi fare in Doveton on the morning of 27 July.

After two bouts of verbal abuse from Zagarella, the victim said he would call the police.

While in his cab, the side door was rammed repeatedly by a white Hyundai hatch with no number plates, the court heard. It caused significant damage.

The cabbie took photos and a short video of the attack.

In a police interview, Zagarella allegedly claimed that the cabbie told him he was going to “f*** my sister so I chased him”.

“I had no money to pay for the fare. Hit him by accident in the car,” he allegedly stated to police.

On another occasion, a taxi driver reported Zagarella refused to pay his fare, refused to leave the cab and had passed out.

According to Dandenong police officers, he gave a false name, tried to flee from police, admitted using 2 millilitres of GHB and refused ambulance treatment.

In August, he allegedly drove a stolen BMW at a man standing on steps in King Street Dandenong while purportedly recovering a drug debt.

He reversed three times in an attempt to hit the victim, police claimed.

Zagarella then allegedly collided with a parked vehicle, and drove at two neighbours in an attempt to run them over.

He caused a gas leak after erratically reversing into a unit’s gas heater unit, police say.

On other occasions, he allegedly stole a Kia Sorrento hire car as it was being filled up at a Karringal servo, as well as a delivery driver’s Honda Accord while working in Noble Park.

Several times in the past two years, he allegedly stole from servos and 7-11 stores in Hallam, Oakleigh, Narre Warren North, Hampton Park, Mt Waverley and Doveton.

He took petrol, sunglasses, pies, sausage rolls and drinks, as well as about $200 of clothing from a Narre Warren sports store, police allege.

After the bowser was shut off, Zagarella reportedly stormed into a servo store, throwing chocolate bars at the worker and urging him to fight him outside.

In opposing bail, police submitted that Zagarella was an unacceptable risk of reoffending.

He continued to offend while on a community corrections order imposed on 8 June, they argued.

On 25 January, magistrate Greg Connellan noted Zagarella had been previously jailed for similar charges, and had previously offended on bail.

He noted defence arguments for bail including weaknesses in the prosecution case, CISP support for drug and ADHD issues, his former wife offering surety and significant court delays.

“I’m satisfied by a fairly fine margin that exceptional circumstances are made out here.

“I’m satisfied that a combination of bail conditions … can reduce the unacceptable risk to an acceptable level.”

Zagarella was bailed on a $1000 surety and night curfew to a Springvale address.

He must report three times a week to police and comply with CISP conditions.