By Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.
A 24-year-old Sydney tenant has allegedly been held against his will and assaulted by his landlord, following the young man experiencing financial difficulties and being unable to pay rent.
Due to the spread of COVID-19, it is reported that the pair negotiated a payment plan, as is common currently with landlords and impacted tenants per Government recommendations.
However, the agreement reached evidently fell apart.
Mario Venneri and his associate Anthony Mowad went to the Clifton Reserve property in Surry Hills on the 17th of June, where the incident allegedly unfolded.
It is reported that the pair allegedly assaulted the young man and sought to prevent him leaving the premises until he paid the debt that they claimed he owed.
The tenant eventually transferred the funds to Mr Venneri, at which point he finally left.
As soon as the suspects departed, the tenant reported the incident to police.
Detective Superintendent Tim Beattie explained that “there was a physical altercation and it became very clear that the tenant was unable to leave, he was contained against his will,”
“It became very clear that the tenant was detained against his will and that led to the repayment of those funds.”
“There are processes and mechanisms to retrieve the outstanding money but if they cross the line there will be certain consequences that go with it.”
The premises is reported to be rented at nearly $1,000 per week.
Chief executive of the NSW Tenants’ Union Leo Patterson Ross has commented in response to the “appalling incident,” that “the payment of rent is a contractual obligation and in the case of disputes there is a clear process for landlords to follow through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the courts. These should not be ignored.”
“There is no licencing or registration scheme for landlords in NSW despite the large financial amount collected each year, or the essential service of shelter they are providing.”
Venneri has been charged with detaining a person for advantage and has received conditional bail by Central Local Court. He will have to report to Toukley Police Station to adhere to the bail conditions.
He will appear before the Downing Centre Local Court again in mid-August.
Mr Mowad has also received bail, with his lawyer relaying that the co-accused was “aghast” at the actions of Venneri. He is facing charges of detaining in company with an intent to obtain advantage and occasion actual bodily harm.
He claims that he played a relatively minor role in the matter and only knew the tenant through Mr Venneri.
Mowad even requested to speak to the Magistrate, to which his Honour replied, “I usually find people who speak get a shovel and dig a deep hole for themselves,”
Detaining a person without consent to obtain any kind of advantage is classified as kidnapping in NSW.
Section 86(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) prescribes a maximum of 14-years jail for detaining anyone without consent for purposes of any advantage.
This law prohibits taking or detaining a person without consent, with the intention of holding that person to ransom or to commit an indictable offence or to obtain any advantage.
Where this occurs in company of someone else or the victim suffers actual bodily harm, the offence attracts a maximum of 20-years jail. This is called aggravated kidnapping.
If it occurs in company of another person and the victim also suffers actual bodily harm, the offence attracts a maximum of 25-years jail. This is called specially aggravated kidnapping under section 86(3) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Detaining under this section means “causing the person to remain where he or she is” (Section 86(7) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).
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